Remembering Candace Dunn Morgan (1942 — 2023)

As Women’s History month draws to a close, we want to take a moment to remember Candace Dunn Morgan, a woman who left an indelible mark on the ACLU of Oregon. Candy was a long-time ACLU board member who also served two stints as the Board president from 2005 – 2006 and 2011 – 2014. She was a librarian, First Amendment champion, legal activist, educator, lecturer, author, spouse, mother, grandmother, gardener, and mountain climber. 

A black and white photo of Candace against a book page background with pressed flowers. A banner at the top reads: "In Memory of Candance Dunn Morgan, librarian, ACLU supporter, advocate"

Drawing from her obituary, in addition to her time on the ACLU board, she served for more than 15 years on the American Library Association's Intellectual Freedom Committee. As a devoted First Amendment advocate, Candy served nearly 20 years on the American Library Association Freedom to Read Foundation Board of Trustees.

As a legal activist, Candy served as a plaintiff and witness to major First Amendment cases. She testified before the U.S. Senate Committee of Commerce, Science and Transportation on S. 97, Children's Internet Protection Act. She was a witness for the American Library Association in the legal challenge to the Children's Internet Protection Act (ALA v. US; Civil Action No. 01-1322, 01-1303, March 25, 2001), and was a named Plaintiff in ACLU of Oregon v. John Kroger, formerly Powell's Books v. Myers.

Candy received the highest awards for her contributions to the cause of intellectual freedom. She was awarded the Oregon Library Association Intellectual Freedom Champion of the Year in 1997. She holds the Roll of Honor Award from the Freedom to Read Foundation, the William O. Douglas Award from the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington (2004), the Oregon Library Association Honorary LifeCel Membership (2004), the Washington Library Association's President's Award and ProQuest/SIRS Intellectual Freedom Award (2005), and the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon E.B. MacNaughton Civil Liberties Award (2010).

We were hoping to remember Candy by celebrating the passage of SB 1583 which would have explicitly prohibited book bans and other forms of censorship in Oregon public schools and libraries if the ban or censorship discriminated against a protected class (such as race, sex, etc.). Although the information we gathered indicated there were enough House votes to pass the bill, then-House-Speaker Dan Rayfield abruptly agreed to end the legislative session three days early before HB 1583 could be fully voted on by the House. Despite Republican tactics to delay the bill, SB 1583 had already passed the state Senate and just needed approval from the House so the Governor could sign it into law. 

We know that ACLU of Oregon members share Candy’s passion for access to information.  Sadly, we know that we will continue to see efforts to ban books in our state. The ACLU of Oregon is honored to partner with the Oregon Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee (OIFC), Parents Defending Schools and Libraries (PDSAL), and local community members to fight book bans. Imbued with Candy’s spirit, passion, commitment, and fierceness, we will continue to fight for the freedom to read.

We are grateful to Candy’s husband, Doug Morgan; two daughters and sons-in-law, Cheryl Morgan and Peter LaPonte, and Kari Brenk and Brian Porter; brother, Michael Dunn; and grandson, Morgan Brenk, for sharing her with us.  

Rest in power, Candy. Your fervor, persistence, and passion will not soon be forgotten.