Louis Southworth

An Oregon Black Pioneer - This story about Louis Southworth was not written by Louis Southworth, no known autobiography exists of his life. The museum's education department used historical information and photos to write the script used in this video to share about Louis Southworth's life. Louis was born at a complicated time in history, when slavery was legal in some parts of the United States and illegal in others. Back in the 1850's, Oregon was in the process of becoming a state and thousands of people were emigrating to Oregon to live. Despite Oregon being founded as a free state that prohibited slavery, some people were still brought as slaves to Oregon and some slave masters ignored Oregon's laws prohibiting slavery, making the people they enslaved pay them money to buy their freedom. Louis Southworth was one person that was brought as a slave to Oregon and was forced to pay his master to buy his freedom. Louis earned money playing the fiddle to buy his freedom. This video shares about his life, his music and fiddle tunes popular during his time. A photo of Louis Southworth with his fiddle is on display in the new Corvallis Museum. Click the video to start, it's 7 minutes long.