It Did Happen Here: An Antifascist Peoples’ History Book


Above: successful research trip to the Rural Organizing Project with coauthor Erin Yanke
Coauthors: Erin Yanke, Mic Crenshaw, Celina Flores, Moe Bowstern, Icky Dunn, Julie Perini
Publisher: PM Press
Year: 2022
Several photos here by: Coyote, Jon Bair

It Did Happen Here: An Antifascist Peoples’ History, is a forthcoming book (PM Press, 2022), based on the independently produced podcast of the same name. I am a coauthor of this book, along with longtime Portland artist-activists Moe Bowstern, Mic Crenshaw, Alec Dunn, Celena Flores, and Erin Yanke. 

It Did Happen Here is a historical short form podcast about neonazi skinheads in Portland, Oregon the late 1980s and early 1990s, and the community’s push back on their presence. The November 1988 murder of Ethiopian PSU student Mulugeta Seraw by neonazi skinheads brought the issue to mainstream attention. The podcast tells the story of the organizing that happened sub-culturally within the punk scene and cross-culturally throughout the entire city from 1987 - 1997, taking a close look at a few organizations that pre-date the current Antifascist (“Antifa”) movement: Anti-Racist Action (ARA), Skinheads Against Racial Prejudice (SHARP), and the Coalition for Human Dignity (CHD). The podcast comprises eleven featured episodes and nine bonus episodes. The first episode was released in November 2020 and continued weekly into 2021. My contribution to the project has been visual research, design, and social media. Each week when a new episode was released, I created a social media asset to promote it.

Since Spring 2021, I have been reaching out to podcast participants requesting images from their personal archives. My collaborators and I have looked into the archives and photo collections at the Oregon Historical Society, Portland City Archives, The Oregonian, and the Rural Organizing Project in Cottage Grove, Oregon. We coauthors view the book as an opportunity to bring the podcast stories to life; preliminary drafts of the layout are full of photographs and posters. This project has brought me into direct contact with antiracist activists, musicians, and archivists from previous generations. The entire podcast, social media initiative, and now book editing efforts have taken place in a socially distanced, COVID-safe way, which has been a valuable way for me to learn to effectively collaborate with others on a creative and political project in these times. Watch out for the book in 2022!