African American culture

Visit these destinations to connect with Portland's African American community.

African American murals adorn many North and Northeast Portland buildings.African American murals adorn many North and Northeast Portland buildings.
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    = 1 mile (1.6 km)
    = 0.5 mile (0.8 km)
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    This section was produced in collaboration with Flossin Media, a black-owned media, marketing and event company that specializes in inspirational, motivational and educational messaging.

    The Soul District: The heart of the African American community

    The historic heart of Portland’s African American community is the “Soul District” of inner North and Northeast Portland, deemed the “Soul of Portland” in the 1990s as much because of its courage to sustain as for its cultural vibrancy.  In this creative center, Portland’s African American community has fostered business development, artistic expression, multicultural preservation and community advocacy. This is where you will find civic institutions such as the Urban League of Portland, Self Enhancement Inc., the Black United Fund, the Portland African American Leadership Forum, the Coalition of Black Men Portland and the Prince Hall Masons, as well as barbershops, salons, African American food cart pods, African groceries, music, arts and culture. We invite you to get your soul on!

    Heading out

    Take a tour of our “Walls of Pride,” a collection of murals and public art in North and Northeast Portland created by local painters and sculptors. A book and map are available from Know Your City.

    View multicultural art exhibits, dance and performance at the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center.

    Visit the Alberta Arts District to explore local music, food and art. Alberta Street is home to a popular gallery walk and street fair on the last Thursday of every month.

    Find unique style at fashion designer Kenneth Doswell’s Betty Jean Couture.

    Update your do at Geneva’s Shear Perfection or visit Pearl Hall at Dean’s Beauty Salon. Check out Champions or Reggie’s, both in the heart of the historic African American neighborhood, or visit former NBA star Terrell Brandon’s Barber Shop.

    Check out the Black Resource Collection at the North Portland Library.

    Leisure Hour Golf, a multicultural organization with a focus on involving the African American community, hosts events for golfers of all backgrounds and skill levels at Portland’s many excellent golf courses.

    Fishing, hunting, skiing, hiking — no trip to Portland is complete unless you experience some of the outdoor adventure the city has to offer. Connect with these great African American-run organizations for guided opportunities to bask in the beautiful outdoors. Hike a peak with the African American Outdoor Club, snag a salmon with Soul River or bag a buck with the African American Hunting Association

    Food and drink

    Located atop a hill in northeast Portland’s Hollywood district, Clyde’s Prime Rib Restaurant & Bar features an elegant dining room and live jazz, R&B and blues in the bar.

    Black-owned and independently tethered to the Embassy Suites in downtown Portland, Portland Prime is an upscale dining experience well-known for hosting a plethora of African-American business-class cliental.

    Established in the 1990s by Ethiopian immigrant Alem Gebrehiwot, Queen of Sheba is one of the oldest African restaurants in the city. Check out their amazing platters of food that delight vegan and non-vegan diners alike.

    Experience the taste of the Soul District by visiting food cart pods featuring a variety of authentic ethnic food. For the soul food aficionados, check out Ella’s Kitchen food cart — make sure try the catfish with banana pudding. Order hand-pressed hamburger patties by the pound at Stoopid Burger. While you’re there, walk historic Mississippi or Williams avenues, rich with quaint retail shops filled with unique fashion and wares.


    Since 1921, Billy Webb’s Elks Lodge has served the African American community as a YWCA, a USO club and a safe haven for those fleeing the Vanport floods in the 1940s.

    Jimmy Mak’s, called “one of the world’s top 100 places to hear jazz” by Down Beat magazine, features noted national and local performers, including legendary jazz drummer Mel Brown, who is in residence three nights a week.

    Hip-hop, reggae and African dance hall: Portland’s young-adult dance scene is a kaleidoscope of trendy modern venues such as Trios and small “juke-joints” scattered throughout the city. Check out Tube Bar or Black Book in Old Town Chinatown for great hip-hop or the Local Lounge (on the first Saturday of each month) or Sengatera (every Friday) for the hottest in African Dancehall, reggae, zouk and hip-hop tunes spun by DJs from Africa.


    Black-owned Green Cab and Green Shuttle and New Rose City Cab Company provide taxicabs, airport shuttles, group tours, senior transportation and delivery services.

    Radio stations

    • KBOO 90.7 – An eclectic mix of hip-hop, politics, Afrobeat and more
    • JAM’N 107.5 – Party hits and throwback jams
    • KMHD 89.1 – Jazz
    • KOPB 91.5 – Oregon Public Broadcasting
    • LIVE 95.5 – Hip-hop and top 40

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