Ruth Bolden, 1910-2004

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Ruth Bolden, 1910-2004


Civil rights workers


Ruth Bolden was a library founder and civil rights worker. She was educated at Stillman College and received her master’s degree in library science from Atlanta University. She helped found what would become the Weaver-Bolden Branch Library (part of the Tuscaloosa Public Library system) in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, which is now named in honor of her and of Dr. George Weaver.

Bolden was born in Bibb County, Alabama, and worked to put herself through school at Stillman College. She later earned her master’s degree in library sciences from Atlanta University.

In 1948 she started a library in the local community center in West Tuscaloosa, and in 1961 she secured funding to build a new library. She was the first librarian of the library, and in 1960 requested that the Library be named for Dr. Weaver, a prominent black citizen who allowed local young people to use his private library. In 1991, this branch of the Tuscaloosa Public Library was renamed the Weaver-Bolden branch in her honor.

Bolden was a follower of T.Y. Rogers, who was a leader in the local American Civil Rights Movement. She was a member of the Tuscaloosa Citizens Action Committee and helped register blacks to vote.

Bolden was among those who were in First African Baptist Church planning a civil rights march when it was tear gassed by local authorities on June 9, 1964, a day known by many as "Black Tuesday."

Bolden held several distinguished memberships and honors, including membership in the First African Baptist Church, the League of Women Voters, Bryce Human Rights Committee (appointed by the Federal Court), the Tuscaloosa County Jury Commission and was president of the Stillan College National Alumni Association. Bolden was also named Alabama Black Woman of the Year.


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