Honoring Louisa Flowers & Women’s History Month

Image of Louisa M. Flowers, formerly Louisa Thacker at age 23. Black and white image.

By Joshua Baker

For Women’s History Month, we want to honor Louisa Flowers. You may recognize the apartment building at NE Holladay and Grand, but do you know much about the building’s namesake? Louisa Flowers was a well-respected African American civic leader and pioneer who settled in Portland in the late 1800s despite the discriminatory and racist laws that discouraged Black people from living here. Louisa was still able to build a successful life for her family and her community, despite these laws.

Louisa’s family was one of the very first Black families to own property on Portland’s eastside. They operated a farm near Mt Scott and built homes in Lower Albina, near what is now The Louisa Flowers, an affordable housing building. The farm where the Flowers family raised horses and grew raspberries became a gathering spot for Black community life in Portland. Because of how much of an inspiration Louisa Flowers and her family were to the Portland community, The Louisa Flowers building aims to carry on that legacy.

Louisa was also heavily involved in civic work. She was a founding member of the Williams YWCA (now known as the Billy Webb Elks Lodge), was deeply engaged with the NAACP and was also a deaconess of the Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Additionally, Louisa was a member of the Old Rose Club, which raised college scholarship money for young women. Click here to learn more about Louisa Flowers and her legacy.

Lastly, we also would like to take this opportunity to uplift women-owned and led businesses and organizations around Lloyd:

  • Nielsen’s Jewelers is a family-run operation led by Jan Nielsen and her daughter Sara Winter who help every client with their extensive industry knowledge and welcoming service.
  • Way of Being offers supplies, education, and encouragement to support a sustainable, low waste lifestyle where everyday actions create a better world. Alex Gamboa Green and Lindsay Janssen Smith co-founded this shop in the Lloyd Center. Also, check out Alex’s recent appearance on the Sustainable Brown Girl podcast.
  • Animal Plant Mineral, also in the Lloyd Center, is owned by Faith Jennings and offers ethical, sustainable, and hand-made goods like clothes, jewelry, home decor, and so much more.
  • Howard’s Heart, founded by Jennifer Boling and Amy Bunker, is a non-profit that seeks to provide resources and support to foster children across the state.