Oregon’s Outlaw Hero: D.B. Cooper and His Leap to (Im)mortality

James Deutsch (Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage)

When D.B. Cooper hijacked an airplane, enroute from Portland to Seattle on November 24, 1971, and escaped by parachute with a $200,000 ransom, he almost instantly became an outlaw hero, or “a modern-day Robin Hood,” according to one newsweekly. This paper will dig deeper into the ballads, legends, and folk humor that circulated in the Pacific Northwest in the early 1970s. It will place Cooper’s actions in the traditions of other outlaw heroes in the United States, many of whom are known for their coolness under fire and for making at least one miraculous escape during their careers in crime.

Part of 01-10 Music and Folklore, Thursday, November 02, 8:30 am–10:00 am