Say We Are Here: Selections from the Verdell A. Burdine and Otto G. Rutherford Family Collection

Civil Rights Campaigns

Mass meeting handbill

Handbill, Albina Hall Mass Meeting, c. 1930s.

The mass meeting is a long-standing tradition in African American communities that dates at least to the end of slavery.  Though the franchise was limited to adult men before 1919, later whole communities gathered to deliberate on positions and candidates.  After women’s suffrage, such deliberations received fresh urgency.  Nonpartisan organizing served important educational purposes and during the civil rights movement, mass meetings were essential to fostering solidarity, hammering out agendas and strategies, and keeping spirits high.

Civil Rights Ordinance handbill

Local initiative 500x was a Portland-based effort to outlaw racial discrimination in public accommodations.  The measure failed.  This handbill, designed and written by Verdell and printed at home, vividly represents the centrality of her labor and talents in political mobilization around civil rights in Portland.

Civil Rights Ordinance campaign button

Campaign button urging a Yes vote on 500x.

Senate Bill No. 169, page 1

Text of Oregon Senate Bill 169, Civil Rights Law, passed February 4, 1953, page 1.

Publicity photo, December 23, 1954

Publicity photo, December 23, 1954.

Godfrey Ibom, Nigerian exchange student from the University of Oregon, presents proceeds from the first settlement under the Oregon civil rights law to Miss Grace Choi, Korean exchange student for the University of Oregon Foreign Students' Service Fund and to Otto Rutherford, president of NAACP for its Legal Redress Fund.

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