October 2015

Harry Rutherford, PhD and Evaretta Rutherford, PhD

Educators and Community Activists

Drs. Harry and Evaretta Rutherford were a husband and wife team who devoted their lives to the success of students, teachers, and administrators, especially in Richland County School District One and at Benedict College in Columbia.

Born in Columbia, South Carolina, Harry Rutherford graduated from Booker T. Washington High School (BTW) in Columbia, SC in 1928; earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics at Johnson C. Smith University in North Carolina; a master’s degree from New York University; and, doctorate from Harvard University.

Evaretta Sims Rutherford, born in Washington, D.C. on August 24, 1910, attended Howard University and later moved to Columbia, South Carolina and taught English, Latin and French at BTW. She married Harry Rutherford in 1939. She received a master’s degree from New York University and doctorate from Harvard University.

The Rutherfords left a legacy of contributions to educational reform and social justice issues. Harry co-founded the Richland Teachers Council Federal Union to provide loans to African American teachers who could not obtain them from other lending institutions. He served as principal at BTW from 1950-1964 and later as assistant superintendent in the Washington DC school system.

Evaretta Rutherford was chairman of the Department of Education at Benedict College before accepting a position as Professor of Education at Howard University in 1963. She later became the chair of Howard’s Department of Education. She also served as a Fulbright Professor in India and South Africa and wrote or co-authored six books in the field of African studies.

The 119th Session of the 2011-2012 SC General Assembly named the interchange at the intersection of Interstate Highway 77 and SC Highway 555 in Richland County in honor of the Rutherfords. Evaretta Rutherford died in 1978 and Harry Rutherford died in 1980.They are survived by two sons, Drs. William and Harry Rutherford