Black United Front Oral History Project

Charlotte Rutherford

Charlotte Rutherford

Charlotte Rutherford at her home in Northeast Portland, alongside pictures of her family members. 

Charlotte Rutherford was born in 1947. In her varied life and career, Rutherford has been a civil rights attorney, activist, journalist, administrative law judge, community organizer, and entrepreneur. Her parents, Verdell Burdine and Otto G. Rutherford, were major figures in the struggle for equal rights in Portland and raised Rutherford to have a commitment to the black community and social justice. In the 1960s, she was inspired by the Black Power movement and was an early student in Portland State’s Black Studies program. For several decades, she has consistently demonstrated the intersectionality of education and activism.

Rutherford was interviewed on November 19 and 22, 2008, by Monica Fields-Fears in Portland, Oregon. A full transcript of her interview is available on PDXScholar.

"Education was the foundation of our existence coming out of slavery."

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