Portland Civil Rights Leader Comes to Campus for Constitution Day

September 14, 2018
Hon. Charlotte B. Rutherford

Hon. Charlotte B. Rutherford. Photo courtesy of Andie Petkus and Central City Concern.

The Honorable Charlotte B. Rutherford is the keynote speaker to celebrate Constitution Day at Warner Pacific University. Rutherford is a well respected Portland activist, former civil rights attorney, and retired administrative law judge. Her address will focus on the importance of voting and community engagement.

Constitution Day, observed on September 17, to honor the day in 1787 when the delegates of the Constitutional Convention signed the United States Constitution in Philadelphia. Warner Pacific’s Constitution Day event is Monday, September 17 from 1:00 – 2:15 pm in the Otto F. Linn Library on the University’s Mt. Tabor Campus. The event is free to attend and open to the public.

Keynote speaker, Charlotte B. Rutherford grew up in North Portland in a family that was committed to social justice and community activism. In the 1950s, her parents, Otto G. Rutherford and Verdell Burdine, were important figures in Portland’s chapter of the NAACP, helping pass the 1953 Oregon Civil Rights Bill.

Charlotte Rutherford completed postgraduate studies at Howard University School of Law and graduated seventh in her class at the Georgetown University Law Center. She returned to Portland where she worked as a law clerk for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and as both a compliance officer and as a human rights investigator in the civil rights division for Oregon’s Bureau of Labor.

Rutherford’s activism included leadership of the Black Justice Committee, the Portland Metropolitan Steering Committee, the Parent Policy Council, and the Albina Voter Registration and Education Committee, among others. Throughout her life, Judge Rutherford has used her voice to promote equality, serve those who have been historically under-represented in political discourse, and celebrate the Black community in Portland.