Interview transcript with E. Shelton Hill


Transcript of interview with E. Shelton Hill from the Oregon African American Railroad Porters Oral History Collection dated July 7, 1983. This is part one of the interview. E. Shelton "Shelly" Hill will best be remembered as a civil rights crusader who left an indelible mark on Portland. Born in 1903 on the Choctaw Reservation in Oklahoma, Mr. Hill would earn degrees in chemistry and physics from Western University in Kansas and attend graduate school at Ohio State. After spending summers in Portland working for the Union Pacific Railroad as a waiter and labor recruiter, Shelly Hill moved to Vanport in 1941 to serve in the Air Force as Director of Education and Recreational services for Black airmen while studying social work at Vanport State, later transferring to the Vancouver Housing Authority in 1945 as tenant relations advisor. Most notably Shelly Hill began working for Urban League of Portland in 1947, helping African Americans access jobs in fields they were previously excluded from as Director Industrial Relations and then serving as Executive Director from 1956 to 1972. Shelly was married to Helloise Hill, a Vanport and PPS teacher who would become the first African American principal in Portland. In this interview with Michael “Chappie” Grice, E. Shelly Hill focuses on his time as a Pullman Car waiter and his early years in Portland. Visit the Oregon Multicultural Archives for more:

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In copyright. Used by permission of the copyright holder, who retains publication rights thereto. Use of resources from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Please contact the Oregon Multicultural Archives for permission to use.


  • PUtxt_000462



July 7, 1983



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