The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Tim Hall Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Janice Dilg.

June 25, 2014


“African American Student Life in the 1970s”  June 25, 2014  Location: The Portland Building, Portland, Oregon.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In the interview, Hall recounts his upbringing in Los Angeles, his decision to attend OSU, and the adjustments that he faced in moving to a small town with a very small African American population. A major theme of the session is Hall's recollections of ignorant attitudes and bigotry faced by the black student community during his stint in Corvallis. In this, he discusses police harassment, hostility from local merchants, and uncomfortable interactions with white students who had grown up in racially homogeneous environments.

Hall also reflects on the African American community that emerged during his college years, noting his friendship with several athletes, social life, and hangouts, including the Black Cultural Center, which Hall helped to found. Hall likewise recalls his more personal experience of being an OSU student, discussing the jobs that he held, the locations (including Philomath) where he lived, and his academic progression from Oceanography to Technical Journalism.

The remainder of the session is chiefly devoted to an overview of Hall's career path following OSU. He describes his first employment in public relations at the Occidental Petroleum Corporation and shares his memories of later jobs at Kaiser Permanente and the Portland Water Bureau. Hall also speaks to his continuing involvement with OSU as a member of its Board of Advisors for Minority Affairs, his interactions with three OSU presidents, and his pride in OSU's commitment to upgrading its cultural centers and recruiting a more diverse student body.