A new statue will be unveiled in Waldport on Saturday, honoring a prominent figure in Oregon’s Black history.
Louis Southworth arrived in Oregon in 1853 as a slave, and he purchased his freedom in 1858. He helped to found the first public school in Waldport, and served as school board president. He was also a blacksmith, a musician and a ferry operator.
Jesse Dolin is with the Oregon Coast Visitors Association.
“He was just a luminary. He really was embraced by a white settler community during a very divided time in our state’s history.”
The bronze statue of Southworth will eventually be installed in the new Louis Southworth Park. The sculptor, Peter Helzer, also created the Ken Kesey memorial in downtown Eugene.
The unveiling ceremony will be held Saturday afternoon at the Alsea Bay Bridge Visitor Center and Museum. The statue will remain there until park construction begins next year.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct the year that Louis Southworth arrived in Oregon. He arrived in the state in 1853, and purchased his freedom in 1858.