Central Oregon Coast NOW Meeting! Business meeting will follow talk.
Jan Meranda and Dr. Bob Zybach will give a presentation on Letitia Carson on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 6 p.m. at the Newport High School Boone Center.
This program is cosponsored by The Newport Public Library Foundation and the Central Oregon Coast NOW Foundation in recognition of Black History Month.
Letitia Carson, a former slave, was one of the first black women to cross the Oregon Trail in 1845, along with her white husband, David. Their daughter, Martha, was born along the way, and their son, Adam, came several years later. When David Carson died, Letitia and her children were left out of his estate settlement, and their land was taken from her by Greenberry Smith, a wealthy white landowner.
Letitia’s story is signifi cant because she fought for years to regain her property and eventually won, becoming the first black woman to make a successful homestead claim in the Pacifi c Northwest.
Zybach is a forest scientist with a Ph.D. in environmental sciences. He and Meranda, a writer and genealogist from Salem, have collaborated on researching Letitia Carson’s history for nearly 30 years.
Jane Kirkpatrick drew on their research to write her 2014 novel, “A Light in the Wilderness,” and Meranda recently published the first in her series of biographies on Carson, “Freedom’s Light: The Letitia Carson Story Begins.” Zybach’s article, “Strangely Absent from History: Carson vs. Smith, 1852-1857,” appeared in a recent issue of The Oregon State Bar Bulletin.
This program is free and open to the public. Copies of Meranda’s book will be available for purchase and signing. For more information, go online at www.newportlibrary.org or call 541-265-2153.
Jan Meranda stands at the grave of Letitia Carson, who is the subject of a presentation on Tuesday, Feb. 28, at 6 p.m. at the Newport High School Boone Center.•This event is in recognition of Black History Month.
Dr. Bob Zybach, along with Jan Meranda, will give a presentation on Letitia Carson, a former slave and one of the fi rst black women to cross the Oregon Trail in 1845. The talk is being held in recognition of Black History Month. (Courtesy photos)