Vancouver’s First Black Families with Melissa Williams

Historian Melissa Williams will share the story of housing and Vancouver’s African American community from 1940-1960. Learn how Black families made Southwest Washington their home during wartime, what factors pushed many out of the area after the war, and about the lasting contributions these first Black residents made to Vancouver.

Melissa Williams (she/her) is a U.S. historian who concentrates on African American history. Over the past 20 years, she has contributed to numerous projects for organizations and educational institutions including the Center for Columbia River History, Vancouver NAACP #1139, the Clark County Historical Museum, and Portland State University. Williams earned a B.A. in History from the University of Washington and an M.A. in Public History from Washington State University Vancouver. She is a doctoral student for Educational Leadership at Portland State University and currently serves as Policy Associate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion for the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.

Recorded January 6th, 2022