Oregon Book Club: A Conversation with R. Gregory Nokes
Mon Nov 4 2013 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
OWC is pleased to announce the final selection in the first year of the Oregon Book Club: Breaking Chains: Slavery on Trial in the Oregon Territory, by R. Gregory Nokes. This nonfiction book tells the story of Robin and Polly Holmes and their children, slaves brought to Oregon from Missouri in 1844 with the promise of freedom in exchange for help developing their owner’s farm. The owner reneged on his promise, and Holmes took his owner to court. The former slave won the case in 1853.
Here’s what Oregon Book Club reviewer Rae Richen had to say about the book:
Oregon entered the union opposed to slavery, but residents who owned slaves were allowed three years to free their chattel. In this new free state, a black exclusion law was written into the Constitution.
When R. Gregory Nokes discovered this disturbing side of Oregon’s history, he began a journey of research, ferreting out details of the courage and struggles of freed families. While following the printed history, Nokes also interviewed descendants of Oregon’s early African American citizens, discovering memories and family history not in newsprint or court records. Nokes brings Oregonians the fuller story of our relationship to slavery and exploitation where, in a supposed liberal Eden, many who opposed slavery did so for their own economic benefit. This is a history book that every school and family should have and use.
Nokes is the author of Massacred for Gold: The Chinese in Hells Canyon, which The Oregonian selected as one of the Top Ten Northwest Books of 2009. He travelled the world as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press and The Oregonian. www.gregnokes.com
Join us at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, at Broadway Books, 1714 NE Broadway, for a conversation with R. Gregory Nokes, and interviewer Kathleen Glanville, a former reporter and editor. The event is free and open to the public.