The digitized materials available here represent a small selection from the extensive Verdell A. Burdine & Otto G. Rutherford Family Collection. Documenting the personal, political and community life of three generations of the Rutherford family in Portland, Oregon, the full collection includes original records, artifacts, publications, newspapers, ephemera, photographs, albums, and scrapbooks. For an overview of the entire collection, please see its associated finding aid.
Verdell A. Burdine Rutherford (1913-2001) and Otto G. Rutherford (1911-2000), prominent citizens in the African American community of Portland, helped lead the struggle for civil rights in Oregon in the twentieth century. As President and Secretary of the Portland chapter of the NAACP, Verdell and Otto Rutherford played an important role in the successful passage of the Public Accommodations Bill, also known as the Oregon Civil Rights Bill, in the state legislature in 1953. The Rutherfords’ tireless community engagement including work with social, church, uplift, and labor organizations, is reflected throughout the collection which includes materials related to the Portland NAACP, local women’s social organizations such as the Culture Club, the Freemasons and other fraternal organizations, railroad workers' unions, and local and regional Black-owned businesses. In addition, the collection boasts hundreds of photographs spanning over one hundred years of family history and local community life.
With its depth and breadth, the Rutherford Collection is an invaluable and unique historical resource for the study of the key social and political currents in the Black experience in Oregon.