Beatrice Morrow Cannady

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Beatrice Morrow Cannady
Beatrice Morrow Cannady portrait.jpg
Beatrice Hulon Morrow

(1890-01-09)January 9, 1890
Littig, Texas, United States
DiedAugust 19, 1974(1974-08-19) (aged 84)
Alma materNorthwestern College of Law
OccupationPublisher, civil rights activist
Spouse(s)Edward Daniel Cannady

Beatrice Morrow Cannady (January 9, 1890 – August 19, 1974)[1] was a renowned civil rights advocate in early 20th-century Oregon, United States. She was editor of the Advocate, the state's largest African-American newspaper.[2] She was also co-founder and vice president of the Portland, Oregon chapter of the NAACP.[3][4]

Early life[edit]

Cannady was born Beatrice Hulon Morrow in Littig, Texas in 1890.[5] She was the second-oldest daughter of George Morrow and Mary Francis Carter Morrow, farmers who raised their children to value education.[5] They had twelve surviving children; eleven daughters and one son.[5] Morrow enjoyed singing from an early age. As a young woman, she moved to Chicago to study music with conductor David Clippinger.

Career and civil rights[edit]

Cannady during her graduation in 1922

In June of 1912, Beatrice Morrow married Edward Daniel Cannady.[6] He was the co-founder of The Advocate, one of Portland, Oregon's first black-owned newspapers.[6] The two had written to each other while Morrow was living in Chicago.[6] Upon moving to Portland, Cannady became associate editor of The Advocate.[6] Her work through the newspaper drew attention to racial violence during the early 1920s and prompted a statement from Governor Ben W. Olcott decrying the actions of the Ku Klux Klan, which was spreading through Oregon at the time.

In addition to her editorial work, Cannady helped to establish the Portland chapter of the NAACP in 1913. This organization marked the first such branch of the organization formed west of the Mississippi River[7] and continues to actively participate in the Portland community. Acting as the chapter's secretary, Cannady worked with the group to remove racist, exclusionary language from Oregon's constitution, a mission which succeeded in 1926 and 1927 when the changes were ratified.[8] Cannady also led protests against Ku Klux Klan propaganda film The Birth of a Nation.[2]

Cannady graduated from Northwestern College of Law in 1922, making her the first black woman to graduate from law school in Oregon. She went on to become the first black woman to practice law in Oregon.[9] Cannady successfully advocated for the passage of civil rights bills by the Oregon state legislature. Her efforts helped integrate public schools in Longview, Washington and Vernonia, Oregon.[2]

In 1927, Cannady represented Oregon at the 4th annual Pan-African Congress in New York City.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Cannady had two sons, George Cannady and Ivan Caldwell Cannady.[11] She divorced Edward Cannady in 1930.[11] A year later, she married Yancy Jerome Franklin, a typist at The Advocate.[11] Cannady and Franklin divorced in 1936.[11]


Cannady paved the way for the second generation of civil rights activists in Oregon with her nearly 25-year fight as a leading activist.[12] [13] To honor her history in the area, a new school in the North Clackamas School District bears her name as the Beatrice Morrow Cannady Elementary School.[14] An affordable housing project in North Portland will be named the Beatrice Morrow Building in her honor.[15]


  1. ^ Kimberley Mangun, "A Force for Change: Beatrice Morrow Cannady's Program for Race Relations in Oregon, 1912-1936," Pacific Northwest Quarterly 96(2)(Spring 2005): 69.
  2. ^ a b c "Beatrice Morrow Cannady". The Oregon Encyclopedia.
  3. ^ Prince, Tracy J.; Schaffer, Zadie (2017). Notable women of Portland. Charleston, South Carolina. ISBN 9781467125055. OCLC 972387080.
  4. ^ Shirley, Gayle C. (2010). More than Petticoats: Remarkable Oregon Women (2nd ed.). Guilford, Conn.: Globe Pequot Press. ISBN 978-0762758661.
  5. ^ a b c Mangun, Kimberly (2010). A Force For Change. Corvallis, Oregon: Oregon State University Press. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-87071-580-8.
  6. ^ a b c d Mangun, Kimberly (2010). A Force For Change. Corvallis, Oregon: Oregon State University Press. pp. 11–12. ISBN 978-0-87071-580-8.
  7. ^ Millner, Darrell. "Blacks in Oregon". The Oregon Encyclopedia.
  8. ^ Unknown. "Portland Chapter NAACP 50th Anniversary". Oregon History Project.
  9. ^ Mangun, Kimberley Ann (2010). Beatrice Morrow Cannady & the Struggle for Civil Rights in Oregon, 1912-1936. Corvallis, Or. : Oregon State University Press. ISBN 9780870715808.
  10. ^ Wagner, MaryJo (1984). Women In History Week. Salem, OR: Oregon Department of Education. p. 101.
  11. ^ a b c d Mangun, Kimberly (2010). A Force For Change. Corvallis, Oregon: Oregon State University Press. pp. 30–35. ISBN 978-0-87071-580-8.
  12. ^ Mangun, Kimberley (2010). A Force for Change. Corvallis, Oregon: Oregon State University Press. p. 194. ISBN 978-0-87071-580-8.
  13. ^ Mangun, Kimberley (2010). A Force for Change. Corvallis, Oregon: Oregon State University Press. p. 142. ISBN 978-0-87071-580-8.
  14. ^ Gutierrez, Simon. "North Clackamas School District struggles to name new high school in Happy Valley". Fox 12 Oregon.
  15. ^ Basalyga, Stephanie (23 November 2018). "Beatrice building offers 80 units of affordable housing". Portland Tribune. Retrieved 12 April 2019.

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