Thirty years ago, three white supremacist skinheads beat Ethiopian immigrant Mulugeta Seraw to death on the streets of a quiet southeast Portland neighborhood. Those men pleaded guilty and were sentenced for the crime. After the criminal proceedings, a lawsuit against White Aryan Resistance head Tom Metzger was filed, and he was held liable for his role in the murder. Seraw’s fatal beating was shown in court to be part of Metzger’s recruiting strategy for the white supremacist group.
The Urban League of Portland held a commemoration of Mulugeta Seraw and the watershed civil rights case on the 30th anniversary of his death, Tuesday, Nov. 13. Portland educator and community activist Joyce Harris and Portland civil rights attorney Elden Rosenthal, who co-led the case against Tom Metzger, joined “Think Out Loud” host Dave Miller to discuss their memories of that time and the resonance Seraw’s death has in the current political climate.
On Wednesday, Nov. 14, commemorative street signs will mark the spot at Southeast 31st and Pine streets where Seraw was killed.
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