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


Letter from Odessa Freeman to the Culture Club, 1940

Letter from Odessa Freeman to Mrs. C. Berry on YWCA letterhead, May 10, 1940.

This letter acknowledges the close collaboration between the Williams Avenue YWCA and the Culture Club.  By pooling resources to stock the building’s kitchen, women moved their domestic skills into the public sphere in the community’s interest.


Oregon Association of Colored Women newsletter, 1951, page 1.

OACW Delegate Card

Oregon Association of Colored Women delegate registration card, 1958.

National Notes magazine, v. 16 no. 1

National Notes Magazine, Autumn 1959.

Verdell was a long-time subscriber to the NACW’s publication, National Notes, and took great pride in announcing and publishing Portland women’s accomplishments in its pages, which she then carefully annotated for future readers.  This issue pictured the NACW’s headquarters building in Chicago, named for noted club woman, Irene McCoy Gaines (1892-1964).

8th Annual Negro History Tea and Exhibit

Program of the 8th Annual Negro History Tea and Exhibit of the Oregon Association of Colored Women’s Clubs, 16 February 1958.

Negro History Tea clipping

“Negro History, Art Shown at Tea,” Oregonian, 18 February 1953.

The second week in February contained the birthdates of both Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln and from the 1860s, these dates were marked by African Americans to commemorate the end of slavery.  In 1926, with support from historian Carter G. Woodson and the Journal of Negro History in Washington, D.C., community groups and schools began to advance the notion of “Negro History Week” in February.

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