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Rutherford, William A.

A native of Chicago’s South Side, William (Bill) Rutherford earned degrees from the University of Southern California and University of Chicago and a doctorate in economics from the Sorbonne in Paris. After working as a journalist, he founded Rutherford and Associates, a successful international management consulting firm in Zurich, Switzerland. At Dr. King’s request, Rutherford created Friends of Martin Luther King Jr. to raise funds for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in Europe. In the summer of 1966, he did volunteer work for SCLC’s Atlanta office, impressing Dr. King by producing their commemorative tenth anniversary publication in just a few days. In December 1967 Rutherford took a one-year leave from his firm to serve as SCLC’s executive director. In this capacity, he restructured the organization, oversaw organizing for the Poor People’s Campaign and helped guide SCLC through the tumultuous period following King’s assassination.

Associated Archive Content : 29 results

Executive "Action Team" of Dr. King's SCLC Leads Aggressive Programs for Human Rights

This news release discusses programs developed by the SCLC Executive Action Team to aggressively address the human rights struggles of the American Negro. Some of these programs include the Citizenship Education Program, Operation Breadbasket and the Urban Leadership Program.

Executive Director's Report

William A. Rutherford sends an informal report to the SCLC Executive Board in Washington, D.C. This is Rutherford's first report as an administrator of the organization and it purposes the ways in which the SCLC can better utilize, and apply, their resources.

Financial Report of the SCLC

This is the SCLC financial report for the week of March 4 through March 8, 1968. Income, disbursements, and bank balances from several banks are included in this document. Expenses from organizational projects, such as Voter Registration, the Washington Project and Operation Breadbasket, are also documented. A list of priorities and outstanding debts conclude the report.

Letter from Barbara W. Moffett to William Rutherford

Barbara Moffett discusses the possibility of coordinating efforts and collaborative participation between the American Friends Service Committee and SCLC.

Letter from Carl E. Farris to William Rutherford

Mr. Farris strongly rejects Mr. Rutherford's offered position to answer Dr. King's mail and to act as Deputy Director of CEP at board meetings.

Letter From Charles L. Sanders to MLK

In this letter, Sanders recommends William Rutherford to Dr. King for a position with SCLC.

Letter from Harry Wachtel to Theodore Smith

Mr. Wachtel informs Theodore Smith and Hosea Williams that they are in danger of breaking the terms of a loan agreement from The American Foundation on Nonviolence.

Letter from Hosea Williams to MLK

Hosea Williams submits his resignation as a staff member of the SCLC. He also requests a meeting with the Steering Committee and Dr. King to discuss unfinished items related to the SCLC.

Letter from Leon Hall to William Rutherford

Leon Hall writes William Rutherford requesting additional per diem fees for SCLC's Mississippi field staff.

Letter from MLK to William A. Rutherford

Dr. King encourages Mr. Rutherford that he would be a great asset to the S.C.L.C. and the Civil Rights Movement.

Letter from Mr. William A. Rutherford to Marlon Brando

In this letter, Mr. Rutherford writes on behalf of Dr. King to Mr. Brando. Dr. King is inquiring if Mr. Brando would be able to host a fundraising event in Hollywood on March 16, 1968.

Letter from Ralph Abernathy to F. D. Kirkpatrick

Rev. Abernathy commends Rev. Kirkpatrick on his job with the Steering Committee and discusses the enclosure of receipts.

Letter from Terrie to MLK

The author informs Dr. King of her
inability to continue working for the SCLC due to conflicting personal issues and emotional instability. She asserts that the work of the SCLC is too important for her to remain "jumping around in the organization." She also informs Dr. King that the SCLC is family and that she is only leaving for personal reasons. Lastly, she requests that other primary members of the organization are informed of this departure.

Letter from Tom Offenburger to MLK

In a letter from Tom Offenburger to Dr. King, a response to a newspaper article written by Bruce Galphin is attached. The article refers to the Civil Rights Movement as a rather violent campaign, due to the harm done to the "good order of society." The response argues on the side of the Civil Rights Movement, and further proves that it is indeed a nonviolent campaign.

Letter from W. A. Rutherford to James Orange

Mr. Rutherford encourages Reverend Orange to be patient regarding his request for a raise, which must receive Dr. King's final approval.

Letter from William A. Rutherford to MLK

William Rutherford recounts his difficulties trying to contact Dr. King while he was in the United States. He goes on to express interest in doing fundraising programs for SCLC in Europe, as well as, mobilizing public opinion in support of the cause.

Letter from William A. Rutherford to Mr. T. M. Alexander, Jr.

Mr. Rutherford writes Mr. Alexander explaining that members of the SCLC were not aware of the purchase of stock made on behalf of the organization. He explains to Mr. Alexander that the organization is in complaint of and will protest Mr. Alexander's actions.

Letter from William A. Rutherford to Richard M. Austin

William A. Rutherford, Executive Director of the SCLC, requests that Rev. Austin join a SCLC support committee. The support committee will offer assistance to the SCLC's upcoming campaign in Washington, D.C.

Letter from William Rutherford to MLK

William Rutherford expresses his enthusiasm for being a new addition to Dr. King's team. Rutherford also encloses newspaper clipping on the Pacem in Terris meetings.

Memorandum from SCLC Personnel Committee to the Steering Committee

SCLC's Personnel Committee conducts a meeting to review the release of William Whitsett from Department of Information. The meeting resulted in the committee's unanimous decision to send a list of recommendations for the Steering Committee to review.

Memorandum from William A. Rutherford and Bernard Lafayette to SCLC Staff Members

William Rutherford and Bernard Lafayette inform the SCLC staff members of an impromptu retreat on the Poor People's Campaign, which will be held at Ebenezer Baptist Church.

Memorandum from William Rutherford to Staff Members

William Rutherford, Executive Director of SCLC, sends a memorandum to the staff informing them of a program entitled "Poverty in Mississippi," which is being broadcast on Channel UHF in the Atlanta area on January 7, 1968.

Memorandum Regarding Fund Raising and Sale of Memorial Objects

William A. Rutherford alerts SCLC members that Dr. King's name is being used in various parts of the country to obtain a profit. These individuals have used the organization's name as well as that of the Poor Peoples Campaign. These actions are unlawful and have not been certified by SCLC's headquarters.

SCLC Action Committee Meeting

This critical 2-day strategy meeting of key SCLC staff takes place 2 months prior to the projected start of the Poor People’s Campaign in Washington, DC. Dr. King expresses concern that they have not met their target goals for participation. Debate ensues about whether to call off the campaign or push it to a later date, and also whether SCLC should abandon all of its other commitments to ensure the success of this project. Problems and solutions are discussed. Staff assignments made for recruitment of the poor, materials, organizational structure, tentative plan of action, D.C.

SCLC Mail Log: February 26, 1968

This is a one-day mail log for incoming mail addressed to Dr. King and other SCLC associates. As an organizational tactic, the log kept track of the high volume of correspondences that came through the office.

SCLC Mail Log: March 4, 1968

This mail log lists the names of people and organizations sending correspondences to several SCLC staff members.

SCLC Memo on the Washington Campaign

Tom Offenburger announces a meeting concerning publicity for the 1968 Poor People's Campaign.

SCLC Memo- The Ministers Leadership Training Program

This memo reminds the Steering Committee and Executive Staff, of the SCLC, that "funds for the Ministers Leadership Training Program are not being used to finance currect SCLC direct-action programs."

Terminated Employee Asks for a Meeting with the SCLC Board

Meredith Gilbert writes to William Rutherford regarding her termination in January 1968 from employment with SCLC.