In this Book
- Remembering the Power of Words: The Life of an Oregon Activist, Legislator, and Community Leader
- Published by: Oregon State University Press
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The book is a brave and honest telling of Gordly’s life. She shares the challenges and struggles she faced growing up Black in Portland in the 1950s and 1960s, as well as her determination to attend college, the dedication to activism that took her from Portland to Africa, and her eventual decision to run for a seat in the state legislature.
That words have power is a constant undercurrent in Gordly’s account and a truth she learned early in life. “Growing up, finding my own voice,” she writes, “was tied up with denying my voice or having it forcefully rejected and in all of that the memory of my father is very strong. To this day—and I am today a very experienced public speaker—preparation to speak takes a great deal of energy.” That this memoir has its origins as an oral history is fitting since Gordly has used her voice, out loud, to teach and inspire others for many years.
“If you ever wondered how a principled woman lives a public life, read Remembering the Power of Words! Here Avel Gordly reveals the challenges, victories, and fears of her life of public service—in the Oregon legislature and senate, especially. Writing as a black female pioneer, she combines the personal with the political in a fascinating way that speaks to all of us.”—Nell Irvin Painter, Edwards Professor of American History, Emerita, Princeton University and author of The History of White People and Sojourner Truth, A Life, A Symbol