A Discussion with Author at the North Portland Library
On April 15th from 6:15pm-7:45pm
R Gregory Nokes will be at the North Portland Library to discuss his book, Breaking Chains: Slavery on Trial in the Oregon Territory.
Breaking Chains is the story of Robin and Polly Holmes who, along with their children, were brought to Oregon in 1844. Enslaved in Missouri, the Holmes were promised freedom in exchange for helping develop their owner’s Willamette Valley farm. However, Nathaniel Ford, an influential settler and legislator, kept them
in bondage until 1850, even then refusing to free their children.
Holmes took his former master to court and, in the face of enormous odds, won the case in 1853. In Breaking Chains , R. Gregory Nokes tells the story of the only slavery case adjudicated in Oregon’s pre-Civil War courts–Holmes v. Ford. Through the lens of this landmark case, Nokes explores the historical context of racism in Oregon and the West, reminding readers that there actually were slaves in Oregon, though relatively few in number.