Clark County Historical Museum Speaker Series: A Place to Call Home

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Clark County Historical Museum will launch its 2021 Speaker Series on Thursday, February 4, with Melissa Williams’ presentation of “A Place to Call Home: Housing and the African American Experience post-WWII.” The event will stream live on YouTube beginning at 7:00 p.m.

Historian Melissa Williams will share the story of housing and Vancouver’s African American community from 1940-1960. Learn how Black families made Southwest Washington their home during wartime, what factors pushed many out of the area after the war, and about the lasting contributions these first Black residents made to Vancouver.

“The history of Vancouver’s African American population is little known but a vibrant thread in the fabric of Southwest Washington.” says Williams, “Learning about the struggles and gifts of the area’s first Black families prompts us to appreciate the richness of our community and to acknowledge the challenges that some have faced in finding a sense of belonging in a place.”

Melissa Williams is a 33-year resident of Vancouver and a U.S. historian who concentrates on African American history. Over the past 20 years, she has contributed to numerous projects for organizations and educational institutions including the Center for Columbia River History, Vancouver NAACP #1139, the Clark County Historical Museum, and Portland State University. Williams earned a B.A. in History from the University of Washington and an M.A. in Public History from Washington State University Vancouver.

Due to the continuing COVID restrictions, this program will live stream on YouTube. Tickets are $5 for non-members and free for CCHM members. A private link will be sent to ticket holders prior to the show. Tickets may be purchased online at

For more information, contact the museum at 360-993-5679 or [email protected]

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