In 1988, the 27-year-old Ethiopian immigrant, Mulugeta Seraw, the then a grad student, was returning home from a night out on November 13 when he was attacked by three neo-Nazis in Portland, Oregon.
The murders of two men who tried to protect a pair of young women from a hateful tirade aboard a MAX train for many Portland residents, recalls a time of racial hostilities and the 1988 murder of Mulugeta Seraw.
The 27-year-old immigrant from Ethiopia, a graduate student at the time, was returning home from a night out on November 13 nearly 30 years ago when he was attacked by three neo-Nazis, according to the Oregonian. One of the assailants bludgeoned him to death with a baseball bat.
The Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League won a multi-million dollar civil case in 1990 againstthe White Aryan Resistance and on behalf of Mulugeta Seraw’s family. The legal fees and damages stunted the organization, according to the newspaper.
The brutal hate crime came amid an era of discord for the Oregon city — Portland, now typically known for its quirkiness and good nature, has a long history of racism and hatred.
“We were called the skinhead capital of the country,” former Portland police officer Bryan Denson told the Oregonian in 1998.
While racial tension and violence for a while seemed apart of Portland’s past, the attack on the light rail train Friday has seemingly dredged up the Rose City’s darker roots.
Many of the early settlers to Oregon were from Southern states and brought with them negative attitudes about black people, said Karen Gibson, a professor of urban studies at Portland State University.