Williams Ave. was once the vibrant heart of Portland’s Black community. Formerly known as the “Black Broadway,” the corridor included a concentration of Black churches, businesses, social service organizations, and nightclubs that were thriving and active community institutions.
Although the landscape has changed, there is much to remember, celebrate and build upon. In 2012, the Williams Avenue Safety Project Stakeholder Advisory Committee recommended to the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) that these stories be honored through an art history project that would have a prominent place on the corridor. Thus, the community-led Honoring History of Williams Avenue Committee and the Historic Black Williams Project were born.
Since then, local artists Cleo Davis and Kayin Talton Davis have collected stories, memories, and histories from Black community members and interpreted them into artwork along N Williams. We hope this project will serve as both a visual archive and an inspiration for future community efforts. View a map of the art walk and take a walk on Williams Ave to see the pieces and experience an important piece of Portland history. Learn more about the project at the artists’ website.
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This project is supported by the Portland Bureau of Transportation and the Regional Arts and Culture Council.