Commemorating Wayne Morse
July 30, 2017, was a day for celebrating Wayne Morse.
Click photos to enlarge: (L) Congressman Peter DeFazio with the Morse signboard during the Eugene Parade, (C) Unveiling the photo plaque at the Mims House (Eric Richardson, Johnny Earl, Melanie Lee), (R) Wayne Morse speaking at the Lincoln Memorial, June 29, 1947. Photo courtesy of Harry S. Truman Library & Museum. Abbie Rowe, National Park Service, Photographer.
In a morning parade through downtown Eugene, he was a presence on a red wagon pulled by US Congressman Peter DeFazio. A large early photo of Morse adorned a sign board in the wagon. A less formal mode of transport for Morse who in the 1930s with his family often participated in the Eugene Pageant and Oregon Trail Celebration driving a carriage pulled by one of his horses.
Later in the day at the historic Mims House on High Street, a crowd gathered to recognize Wayne Morse’s long service for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. From his earliest days in the Senate, Morse stood with the NAACP to find justice for the disadvantaged Black citizenry in this nation. This came from a Senator who represented a state with less than one percent of Black Americans living in it. He joined the NAACP in 1946 and went on to serve for over 20 years on its Board of Directors and as a National Vice President.
The afternoon program, emceed by WMHPC President Johnny Earl, celebrated how one person can make a difference in the lives of many. Speakers included Congressman DeFazio; Melanie Lee, Senator Morse’s eldest grandchild; Eric Richardson, Eugene-Springfield NAACP President; Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis; former Mayor Kitty Piercy; State Senators James Manning and Floyd Prozanski; and Juine Chada reading a letter from United States Senator Ron Wyden
A photo plaque recognizing Morse’s commitment to the NAACP and the cause of civil rights was unveiled at the local NAACP office in the Mims House. It features two photos from the Closing Session of the 38th Annual Conference of the NAACP held at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. C., on June 29, 1947. In one photo, Morse speaks to the Conference which also heard remarks by President Harry S. Truman, the first American President to address the NAACP, and former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
The plaque together with an accompanying album containing copies of the Senator’s 1947 speech, “Making Democracy Work,” and his Report to Oregon following the August 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom offer future generations the opportunity to see that one doesn’t have to be a person of color to fight against injustice to others. Forty three years after his death Senator Morse remains a mentor for all Oregonians.
For the text of Senator Morse’s 1947 speech click here, and for the September 1963 Report to Oregon click here. For an article regarding the NAACP celebration which appeared in the Eugene Register Guard, click here.
WMHPC has been busy this year! Visit our events page to see what we’ve been doing.
WAYNE LYMAN MORSE
Wayne Lyman Morse is celebrated for his legacies of independent judgment and integrity throughout his public service as a renowned federal labor arbitrator and four-term United States Senator from Oregon. He led the University of Oregon’s School of Law for 14 years, where he was the nation’s youngest law school dean at the time of his appointment…
…The causes that Wayne Morse spoke about so eloquently continue to dominate our national debate. His words and vision provide ongoing inspiration for all who seek to carry on his commitment to public service, integrity, world peace and the rule of law.
Read more about Morse in our biography by clicking on this PDF link (22 pages/325k).
WAYNE MORSE LEGACY SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM
The Wayne Morse Historical Park Corporation established the Wayne Morse Legacy Scholarship in 2011 to recognize and help support an Oregon student who seeks access to higher education and has demonstrated or may be inspired by the Senator’s legacies of public service, integrity, commitment to principle and independence. Six outstanding students have been selected thus far – attending Portland State, Oregon State, the University of Oregon and Lane and Portland Community Colleges. Read more about the Legacy Scholarship program and scholarship recipients on our scholarship page.
We’re working to secure long-range funding for the Legacy Scholarship. Donors can help in two tax deductible ways: (1) Making a direct contribution for the scholarship. Contributions can be sent to Wayne Morse Historical Park Corporation, 595 Crest Drive, Eugene, Oregon 97405, ATTN: Legacy Scholarship. (2) Purchasing a granite paver at the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza at the Lane County Courthouse in Eugene. A 4-inch by 8-inch brick-sized engraved paver costs $250; a 4-inch by 15-inch paver costs $500; a 15-inch by 13-inch paver costs $750 and a 23-inch by 15-inch paver costs $1000. All proceeds but the engraving costs go to the Legacy Scholarship fund. Limited quantities of each size are available. For further details about pavers, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (541) 682-5380.
FINDING WAYNE MORSE IN EUGENE
Wayne Morse Family Farm
Edgewood Farm on Crest Drive was the home of Wayne Morse and his family from 1936 to 1974. Formerly a working cattle and horse farm, it is currently a 26-acre multi-use City of Eugene Park, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The house and farm are also supported, in interpretive and preservation efforts, by the Wayne Morse Historical Park Corporation. For history about the Farm and the Morse family home check our National Register page. Information about the Park including rentals of the picnic shelter and the house which are administered by the City of Eugene is available on our Park page.
Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza
The Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza honors an Oregonian whose career epitomized, for supporters and opponents alike, political integrity and courage and provides a location for thoughtful civic discourse. Amid the pavers and plaques highlighting Wayne Morse’s contemporaries and events in his lifetime, one can gain a wealth of wisdom in the quotations as well as lessons in 20th Century American history and politics. Plan a visit to the Plaza at the Lane County Courthouse, East 8th Avenue and Oak Street, Eugene. To read more about the Plaza and its history, click here.
On the Trail of the Tiger
Discover additional information on the Park and Plaza as well as other Wayne Morse sites in Eugene by downloading our tour brochure, “On the Trail of the Tiger,” PDF (2 legal size 8.5×14 pages/550k). Each site offers opportunities to learn about a remarkable Oregonian and reflect on his legacies.