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Rumford's Pharmacy

BERKELEY HISTORY

RUMFORD's PHARMACY

In the 1930s pharmacist and civil rights activist Dr. William Byron
Rumford (1908-1986) served as the first black professional at
Oakland's Highland Hospital. In 1942 he purchased a pharmacy in
Berkeley and, after constructing this building, launched Rumford's
Pharmacy here in 1951
Rumford became the first African-American elected in Northern
California to the State legislature in 1948. He authored major civil
rights legislative measures including the Fair Employment Practices
Act of 1959 and the Rumford Fair Housing Act of 1963. His legisla-
tive work paved the way for the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1968
When not in the legislature Rumford was here, in his pharmacy. It
became a key hub for African-Americans involved in civic matters,
serving as informal headquarters for many emerging black politicians
Rumford retired in 1981. After his death his family agreed this building would become a non profit community
bealth clinic. In 2016 Rumford's life and legacy were memorialized with a nearby sculpture.

Berkeley Historical Plaque Project
www.berkeleyplagnes.org
2017
 

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