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Bus Tour Newsletter #16 – January 2022

Home > Newsletters > Bus Tour Newsletter #16 – January 2022



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It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Beatrice Gilmore, longtime Portland resident, active community member, and one of our most captivating bus tour presenters.

This month’s newsletter is dedicated to the remarkable life and work of Beatrice Gilmore.

Beatrice (Bea) Cannon Gilmore was born in Louisiana in 1931. In 1944, she and her family moved to Vanport, Oregon where her father and mother worked at the Swan Island shipyard until the flood of May 30, 1948.

In 1950, Bea started pre-nursing courses at Vanport College, and in 1955, she became the first African American to graduate from OHSU’s School of Nursing. She went on to receive an MS from University of Portland, School of Nursing.

Source: OHSU School of Nursing

While at OHSU, she was also the only married student in her class. She and her late husband, the Rev. Rozell Gilmore, were married for 58 years and had four children. Bea worked and taught in community health settings for 44 years and contributed as a leader at Leaven Community/ Salt & Light Lutheran Church up until her final years.

Vanport Mosaic | Beatrice Gilmore: Challenging History (with captions)


Bea had a gift for sharing her stories about Vanport, as well as the discrimination she faced in Portland. In a 2018 article reflecting on the 70th anniversary of the Vanport Flood, she said, “we can’t learn from history if people don’t talk about it.”

We will continue to advocate for the social causes that Bea held close to her heart through our commitment to ending discrimination and ensuring racial equity.

By keeping her endearing stories about life in Vanport alive we will honor her legacy for years to come.

We want to hear from you

Is there a particular topic we discuss on the bus tour that you are interested in learning more about? Does your organization host events related to racial justice or other topics that come up on our bus tour? Email your events and ideas to information@fhco.org to have them included in our future newsletters. 

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