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“Do-Gooders” and Friends: The Successes and Failures of Community Advocacy in the Case of Cheryl James

November 08, 2019

On January 4th, 1971, four FBI agents stormed the James’ family home in the Albina district of Portland. Although they were in search of the James’ 21-year-old son, who was AWOL from the Navy, the encounter would have grave implications for Cheryl Dawn James, his 17-year-old sister. She struck an agent on the head with a rolling pin, later claiming that she was defending her younger brother. Tried under the Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act, Cheryl was charged with assaulting an FBI officer. Her conviction, and the appeals process that followed, became emblematic of the struggle for racial equality and justice in 1970s Portland. This exhibition, curated in Lewis & Clark College’s Special Collections by Emma Celebrezze (’20) and Ashley O’Leary (’22), and in conjunction with the Ray Warren Symposium on Race and Ethnicity, examines Cheryl’s story.

Watzek Library Exhibit, 3rd floor, outside room 336
Watzek Library, Special Collections and Archives

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