The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Margaret Carter Oral History Interview. April 18, 2016

Margaret Carter Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Janice Dilg.

April 18, 2016

Location:  Carter residence, Portland, Oregon.

Margaret Carter (b. 1935) is the first African American woman to hold elected office in the Oregon legislature. First joining the Oregon House in 1984, Carter later served in the state Senate, and was variously appointed as Senate President Pro Tempore and chair of the Joint Budget Committee. In 2009 she left the Senate to work as Deputy Director of the state's Department of Human Services, continuing with the department until her retirement in 2014. Carter and her five children left their native Louisiana in 1967, fleeing an abusive home environment. After obtaining a bachelor's degree in Education from Portland State University in 1972, Carter enrolled in Oregon State University's Portland-based master's in counseling degree program in 1973. Completing this degree a year later, Carter found employment at Portland Community College, where she worked as a counselor and as a faculty member for the next twenty-seven years. Her interview focuses on her southern upbringing and her relocation to Oregon; her educational experience at OSU; and a few highlights of her pioneering career in public service.