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Ruby Nell Sales

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Information about Ruby Nell Sales

Profile image of Ruby Nell Sales

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Nonprofit Chief Executive
Social Activist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Purple
Favorite Food:
Greens (Collard)
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
Favorite Quote:
Beloved Community.

Birthplace

Born:
7/8/1948
Birth Location:
Jemison, Alabama

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Nonprofit Chief Executive
Social Activist

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Purple
Favorite Food:
Greens (Collard)
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall, Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
Favorite Quote:
Beloved Community.

Birthplace

Born:
7/8/1948
Birth Location:
Jemison
See how Ruby Nell Sales is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Ruby Sales, born in Jemison, Alabama, on July 8, 1948, suffered many hardships during the civil rights movement but was not disparaged. She has spent her adult life working in philanthropic endeavors.

While studying at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, Sales became involved with the state's Freedom Summer voter registration drive. One afternoon, as she and Jonathan Daniels, a white seminarian, stood in line at a corner store, a man shot and killed Daniels for standing behind Sales in line. Unnerved and unable to speak significantly for seven months, Sales determined to attend the trial of Daniels' murderer, Tom Coleman, and to testify on behalf of her slain colleague. Her perseverance moved her to a career of social activism.

After earning her B.A. in American history in 1971 from Manhattanville College, where she was a National Council of Churches Merit Scholar, Sales enrolled in graduate school at Princeton University. Between 1971 and 1976, she was a Danforth Scholar, and she advanced to Ph.D. candidacy in American history before leaving the university. Sales taught adult education in Boston for a year, and then worked as director of the Citizens' Complaint Center in Washington, D.C. From 1986 to 1988, she taught courses on the civil rights movement and African American women's history at the University of Maryland before becoming affiliated with the National Women's Studies Association. She served as director from 1989 to 1991 of Black Women's Voices and Images, an initiative to wed research to action on issues affecting black women. For the following three years she worked as director of Women of All Colors, coordinating a broad coalition of progressive organizations to work on issues affecting all women.

In 1994, Sales entered the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She studied feminist, African American and liberation theologies with an emphasis on race, class and gender issues, and in 1998 received her master's of divinity. Her training as a seminarian prepared her to launch SpiritHouse in 2000, a nonprofit organization focused on community organizing and spiritually based community building. Sales has written several articles and has appeared as a commentator on several television programs. She lives in Washington, D.C.






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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ruby Nell Sales' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ruby Nell Sales lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ruby Nell Sales states her parents' birthplaces and birthdates
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ruby Nell Sales talks about her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ruby Nell Sales talks about her father's experience in the U.S. Army
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ruby Nell Sales describes her maternal family's view of her mother's ambition
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ruby Nell Sales describes how her parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ruby Nell Sales talks about her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ruby Nell Sales lists her siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Ruby Nell Sales describes her childhood neighborhood in Columbus, Georgia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Ruby Nell Sales describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood in Columbus, Georgia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Ruby Nell Sales talks about talks about Carver High School in Columbus, Georgia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Ruby Nell Sales talks about her childhood activities and the Catholic school she attended in Alabama
  • Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Ruby Nell Sales talks about her religious background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Ruby Nell Sales talks about attending Carver High School in Columbus, Georgia and the school's care for students
  • Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Ruby Nell Sales talks about her love of school and nurturing teachers at Carver High School in Columbus, Georgia
  • Tape: 1 Story: 17 - Ruby Nell Sales remembers her grade school teachers
  • Tape: 1 Story: 18 - Ruby Nell Sales talks about life in the South and impressions of her high school homeroom teacher
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ruby Nell Sales talks about her high school interests, particularly in reading
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ruby Nell Sales talks about growing up in the segregated South
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ruby Nell Sales remembers graduating from Carver High School in Columbus, Georgia, and her disinterest in attending Tuskegee Institute
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ruby Nell Sales talks about HistoryMaker Gwendolyn Patton, Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama and the town's residents
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ruby Nell Sales talks about participation in the Civil Rights Movement from Tuskegee Institute students, faculty, and staff
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ruby Nell Sales talks about her first experience staging a sit-in in Montgomery, Alabama
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ruby Nell Sales comments on how the Civil Rights Movement coalesced
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ruby Nell Sales recalls help from faculty at Tuskegee Institute as she engaged in Civil Rights work in Lowndes County, Alabama
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ruby Nell Sales talks about Lowndes County, Alabama and gives anecdotes about Stokely Carmichael
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ruby Nell Sales describes Stokely Carmichael
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ruby Nell Sales describes how she went about inviting people in Lowndes County, Alabama into organizing work
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ruby Nell Sales talks about differences in movement strategies between Mississippi and Alabama
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ruby Nell Sales talks about SNCC in Alabama and Mississippi
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ruby Nell Sales talks about shifting political power in Lowndes County, Alabama
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ruby Nell Sales talks about debates concerning white people in Civil Rights work
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ruby Nell Sales talks about how gender factored into civil rights work in the South
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Ruby Nell Sales recalls the murder of Jonathan Daniels in Lowndes County, Alabama
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ruby Nell Sales describe the aftermath of Jonathan Daniels' murder
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ruby Nell Sales reflects upon the importance of Jonathan Daniels' murderer being sent to trial
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ruby Nell Sales reflects upon Jonathan Daniels' reasons for joining in civil rights work prior to his murder
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ruby Nell Sales talks about the trial of Tom Coleman, who murdered civil rights worker Jonathan Daniels
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ruby Nell Sales talks about the end of her time in Lowndes County, Alabama
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ruby Nell Sales talks about her transition to the North
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ruby Nell Sales talks about her time in the history department at Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ruby Nell Sales talks about historians Arthur Link and James McPherson
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ruby Nell Sales talks about black historians and lack of support at the Ivy League schools she attended
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ruby Nell Sales offers her thoughts on 'Time on the Cross' by Robert Fogel and Stanley Engerman
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ruby Nell Sales talks about black women poets who influenced her
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ruby Nell Sales talks about teaching at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ruby Nell Sales talks about becoming a feminist, her organizations, and her opinions on the differences between womanism and feminism
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ruby Nell Sales talks about the impact black folk theology had on her theological studies
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ruby Nell Sales talks about black folk theology and its connection to the Southern Freedom Movement
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ruby Nell Sales describes the spirituality of black Southerners who participated in civil rights work
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Ruby Nell Sales talks about the SpiritHouse Project and the political climate of the times
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Ruby Nell Sales talks about the importance of relationship-building in community organizing
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ruby Nell Sales offers reflections on the state of the black church and African Americans in the American empire
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ruby Nell Sales talks about the symbolism of the Biblical Exodus story
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ruby Nell Sales comments on the young people she comes into contact with through her organization, the SpiritHouse Project
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ruby Nell Sales describes her hopes for the black community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ruby Nell Sales reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Ruby Nell Sales reflects upon what she would have done differently in life
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Ruby Nell Sales reflects upon how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Ruby Nell Sales narrates her photographs