The Lane Transit District has recently replaced a historical marker stationed along a bus route after it was defaced in July. The display is in honor of one of Eugene’s first Black families.
The marker, installed in 2018, honors Sam and Mattie Reynolds’ fight for civil rights and local equality, spanning back to the 1940s. But the plaque was defaced for the first time since its installment, with racist slurs and markings during the peak of this past summer’s Black Lives Matter protests.
“The Reynolds' family have a deep and important history here in this community that needs to be known and understood by all who live here, in terms of the contributions that they’ve made to Eugene, as well as the surrounding area,” said LTD spokesperson Pat Walsh.
The custom display was restored at the end of Dec. after LTD had to wait for materials, such as a specific Plexiglas, that was thick enough to protect the display from any future harm.
The historic plaque is located at an LTD EmX bus stop on West 11th Ave. The spot is near the Reynolds' former home in the Ferry Street Village neighborhood—the location of what is now Alton Baker Park. But Black families were evicted from the area in 1949, as to make room for the construction of the Ferry Street Bridge.
"Sam and Mattie Reynolds and their family deserve to have their story told and remembered by all of us," wrote LTD general manager.Aurora Jackson in a press release. "LTD is honored to have a location along the west EmX route where all can learn of their inspiring example and enduring legacy."