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: https://oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/black_panthers_in_portland/#.WwnKoe4vxaQ
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- Vertical File: African American Activism and Reform