Each week Oregon Experience shares a photo highlighting the state’s diverse, exciting history.
The immigrant community of South Portland was home to a number of famous Jewish Americans, one being renowned 20th century abstract painter Mark Rothko. As a child Rothko sold newspapers on the streets of rough South Portland to help support his family after his father died. At 17-years-old, Yale awarded Mark a scholarship. But he found the school too conforming and exclusionary. He quickly dropped out, changed his name to Rothko and headed to New York to join a new generation of abstract painters.
Watch the Oregon Experience documentary “The Jewish Frontier” to learn about prominent Jews in the state’s history.