Our research lead, Monette Hearn, has been uncovering the history of Vancouver Washington's Black community with the help of Reverend LaVerne Hall. Recently Monette and Rev. Hall made a research trip down to Vancouver and Portland to uncover the history of the Vancouver Avenue Church. The church began in federal housing built in Vancouver Washington to support the Kaiser Shipyard workers during WWII. What has not been documented was the significant population of African American workers living in the Burton Homes and Bagley Downs housing communities of those Federal projects. Many of the church members began commuting to Portland for work, and in 1951 the church was moved into a building previously owned by the Central Methodist Church in Portland at 3138 N Vancouver Ave. The Vancouver Avenue Church is significant in Oregon for civil rights work and for being on of the oldest Black congregations in Portland. However, the church records may contain information on the legacy of the church and Black families in Vancouver Washington. Our research is ongoing. Below are photos of Monette and Rev. Hall visiting the Vancouver Avenue Church.
1. The front of Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church
2. The plaque for the national historic site of Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church
3. Memorial bricks of church members who have passed at Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church
4. Inside the sanctuary at Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church
5. Upstairs balcony with Rev. Hall and Monette
6. An original stained glassed of church upstairs inside of church
7. Church Secretary-Mrs. Kennedy and Rev. Hall standing in front of deceased church members plaque
8. Stained glass window inside of church
9. An image of the first congregation of the Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church in the Burton Homes Federal Housing of Vancouver WA courtesy of https://www.oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/vancouver-avenue-first-baptist-church/#.Y1rHWi-B1qs
*You can learn more about the history of the Vancouver Avenue Church here: https://www.oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/vancouver-avenue-first-baptist-church/#.Y1rCuy-B0ic
*You can learn more about federal housing for WWII era workers in Vancouver WA here: https://www.columbian.com/news/2020/dec/27/clark-county-history-kaiser-shipyards/ and here https://dahp.wa.gov/sites/default/files/VancouverPlanWarHousing.pdf.