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Oregon Black Pioneers Hire Expert

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

Professional is first to lead group in 27 years

Zachary A. Stokes

The Oregon Black Pioneers, a group founded in 1993 to research, recognize and commemorate the culture and heritage of African Americans in the state, has hired a professional historian to help guide the organization for the first time in its history.

Zachary A. Stocks started work on July 1. He was hired by the organization’s board of directors who cited his substantial skills and the capacity to strategically guide and advance the organization forward, officials said.

“We are pleased to welcome him aboard,” said Oregon Black Pioneers President Willie Richardson.

In a news release, Stocks said he was “eager to build a sustainable path for the organization's growth, and build new excitement around Oregon's unique African American cultural traditions.

“Now is a turbulent time in our nation's history. But as we continue to reckon with racial injustices and police violence, and the impacts of a global pandemic which disproportionately affects Black and brown communities, the resilience of our ancestors gives me hope. Along with the Board of Directors, I look forward to uplifting the stories of our past and our present through OBP's renowned preservation and interpretation work," he said.

Zachary has an M.A. in Museology from the University of Washington and a B.A. in Anthropology from the College of William and Mary. He comes to Oregon Black Pioneers after a decade of operational and public programs leadership in historical nonprofits.

He is the former Visitor Services Manager of the Northwest African American Museum in Seattle and Program Director for Historical Seaport, and he has interpreted African American history at Colonial Williamsburg and Lewis and Clark National Historical Park.

Zachary is also credited with developing an independent consulting effort to boost institutional equity efforts in rural Oregon museums. He also brings broad experience in strategic planning, communications, education, exhibitions, and community engagement.

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