Mar 01, 2012 - Sale 2271

Sale 2271 - Lot 280

Price Realized: $ 1,320
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 2,000 - $ 3,000
(CIVIL RIGHTS--SEGREGATION.) [MILLION DOLLAR CLUB, PORTLAND, OR.] We Employ White Help And Cater to White People. Sign, 7 x 11 inches, printed in gold on a cobalt blue background. [Portland, OR, 1920s-40]

Additional Details

This unusually worded Jim Crow sign may have come from Oregon. Our research found a reference to a sign very much like it: "We Employ White Help and Cater to White Trade." This was displayed in the window of the Million Dollar Club on Fourth Street, in Portland in the 1920's. Elizabeth McLagan in her book "A Peculiar Paradise, History of Blacks in Oregon, 1788-1940") Chapter Eight, cites this sign and Jim Crow racism in Portland during the period of the 1920's to 1940. McLagan quotes a long-time black resident: "Oregon was a Klan state… a southern state transplanted to the North . . . a hell-hole when I grew up. It has always been a very prejudiced state. It is today, believe it or not. . . I can remember the signs in all the eating places: 'We Reserve the Right to Serve Whom We Please.' I can remember around the corner a place called "Porky Pig," a hamburger place, my son and one of the boys who grew up next door to us going around there one evening to get a hamburger and being told, 'Get out of here. We don't serve "niggers" in here." As early as 1907 the New Age noted that complaints of discrimination were increasing, where there had been little or no discrimination ten years before. (A "Peculiar Paradise," Portland: Georgian Press, 1980)."