Black United Front Oral History Project

The Rutherford Family: Early Life in Portland

Charlotte Rutherford tot model

Verdell Burdine Rutherford’s collection of family photos offer glimpses of middle-class African American life in mid-century Portland. However, racial discrimination in employment and public accommodations was legal in Oregon until 1953, and Portland remained a largely segregated city thereafter.

Young Charlotte and Billy Rutherford photo

Charlotte grew up in a house on NE 9th and Shaver in the King neighborhood, part of Portland's Albina District. She still owns the family home, which has been in her family for nearly a century.

Charlotte Rutherford baby photo 1

This layout of baby photos contains images of Charlotte as an infant, as well as Charlotte's daughter, Al-Yasha Williams (upper right corner), at six months. 

Charlotte Rutherford "Tom Thumb" Wedding attendant photo
Portland State University Branford P. Millar Library | 1875 SW Park Avenue | Portland, Oregon 97201 | 503.725.5874 | Accessibility | Support the Library |