Kent Ford campaign flyer


In 1982, Portland Black Panther founder Kent Ford ran for the Oregon House in District 18, a newly created district in Northeast Portland specifically designed to consolidate the city’s black voters. (District 18 is approximately where District 43 is now.) It was referred to as the “black district,” and the expectation was that one of the four black candidates—Kent Ford, Chad Debnam, Jimmy Walker, or Rev. John Jackson—would defeat the two white candidates, Ed Leek, and Paul Wathen. In the end, Democrat Ed Leek won the seat. Forecasters had underestimated the number of white voters living in the district and had discounted the power of the Democratic voting bloc. Learn more about the Black Panthers in Portland:

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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. The Oregon Historical Society is the owner of the materials in the Research Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the Research Library before any reproduction use. The Society does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners. Photographs Dept., Oregon Historical Society.


  • PUpic_001338



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  • Vertical File: African American Activism and Reform

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