The dead rose up at Portland’s Lone Fir Cemetery last Saturday. And they had a lot to say. Century of Action and other groups working with the staff of Portland’s oldest cemetery brought four local suffragists to life to celebrate the centennial of woman suffrage in Oregon. Standing before us in full 1912 regalia and telling us about themselves were: Harriet (Hattie) Redmond (embodied by Kimberly Howard); Harry Lane (courtesy of Rex Burkholder); Martha Cardwell Dalton (thanks to Melissa Sandoz); and Esther Pohl Lovejoy (through the corporeal form of Judy Litchfield).
Hattie Redmond’s headstone looked all shiny and new because it was. Two years ago the Friends of Lone Fir Cemetery went looking for Hattie’s gravesite. Public records showed that she was buried at Lone Fir, but where was the marker? Determined volunteers set about poking expected places with knitting needles and some such. Sure enough, they found a small marker, about the size of a brick, buried about six inches near the roots of a magnificent tree. A new headstone now marks the site. Avel Louise Gordly (the first African American woman to be elected to the Oregon Senate) made the formal dedication. Kimberly Howard (as Hattie) told us of her commitment to the rights of black women and men in Oregon. She recalled her years of employment as the “charwoman” cleaning the facilities of the judges’ chambers in Portland. And she seemed particularly pleased (as did the rest of us) when Senator Gordly introduced The Hon. Adrienne Nelson, a Multnomah County Circuit Court judge and an African American woman.
Come visit these graves at Lone Fir. And say thanks.