Beatrice Morrow Cannady (1889-1974)

Photo of Beatrice Morrow Cannady. She has dark hair parted down the center & tied back.
Beatrice Morrow Cannady, undated. (Public domain image, Courtesy of  Barbara J. Redwine)
​​​​​​​​Quotation Marks“[T]he Negro Women of America must become the teachers of the white race. In this interracial program there will grow up a strong sisterhood between white and colored women which will be the safest protection of the ideals for which the NAACP stands.”

Cannady is considered one of Oregon’s most prominent civil rights activists. She edited The Advocate, the state’s largest African American newspaper. Cannady was also a founding member of the Portland chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1913. It was the first NAACP branch west of the Mississippi.

Through The Advocate and the NAACP, Cannady ran a 15-year campaign limiting Portland’s showings of the controversial and racist film, The Birth of a Nation. She was a fierce advocate for equality, and regularly protested against segregation in business and government. Cannady also used her newspaper to report on the Ku Klux Klan’s activities throughout Oregon.
An activist for many causes, Cannady also promoted reforms in prisons and the justice system as well as speaking out against war and militarism. In 1922, she graduated from Northwestern College of Law, becoming the first black woman to graduate from law school in the state of Oregon. She advocated for state civil rights bills, and helped to integrate public schools in Oregon and Washington. In 1927, she represented Oregon in the Pan African Congress in New York City, and was a candidate for U.S. Congress in 1932.

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