Ruby L. Bailey Scholarship

The Tom Joyner Foundation/Ruby L. Bailey Scholarship will award scholarships to students in financial need who are single mothers or the children of single mothers attending a Historically Black College or University (HBCU).

A total of $2,000 will be awarded as (2) $1,000 scholarships for the Spring 2019 semester.

Eligible students must meet the following criteria:

  • Are an undergraduate or graduate student
  • Are a transfer or current student
  • Are a U.S. citizen
  • Attend a Historically Black College or University (HBCU)
  • Have a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0
  • Demonstrate financial need on their Free Application for Federal Student Aid Form (FASFA), and
  • First preference will be given to a single mother or the child of a single mother.
  • Scholarship deadline is 12/14 

Ruby L. Bailey Scholarship- 2018/19

Scholarship for Spring 2019
  • Street number and name
  • *minimum 3.0
  • *no more than 250 words

About Ruby L. Bailey

In Memory of Ruby L. Bailey Dec. 13, 1920 – Sept. 18, 1988 YOU WERE MOTHER & FATHER TO SIX CHILDREN REST, OUR MOTHER. YOU HAVE EARNED IT.

Ruby L. Bailey was born in rural Alabama, one of eleven siblings. She got married at the age of seventeen. When she got divorced, many said there was no way she could raise her children alone. They did not know the tenacity that Ruby possessed and would instill in her children. Each of her children had chores and were taught to perform them without question. Ruby vowed to never ask for help from any man or government agency, ignoring the suggestions and advice of friends and family.

With a sixth grade education, Ruby worked as a maid and waitress. She raised six children for more than fifteen years in the backwoods of Marion, Alabama in a house with no electricity or indoor plumbing. She then moved to Morris, Alabama, to a house with electricity but no indoor plumbing. After two years, she moved to Warrior, Alabama. This house had electricity and indoor water but an outhouse for a bathroom. It was not until years later that Ruby finally lived in a home with indoor plumbing and electricity.

Ruby’s religious faith enabled her to provide for her children while making $25 per week cleaning homes. She also donated to her church and cleaned other people’s homes for free who were sick or unable to clean for themselves, Her children complained that she was overworking herself, but she always believed that “God will make a way”. Even after her children paid her to retire, she continued to work, providing free services for the sick and shut-in.

Ruby’s passions were church, flowers, her vegetable garden, and shopping. When asked why she would spend all Saturday shopping without buying anything, she would say “I like looking at all the pretty things”. Not only did she fill every space around her home with flowers, she planted flowers in her neighbors’ yards, whether they wanted them or not. Then she would insist they maintain them.

She was known as “Mu Dear” to her children and “Mrs. Ruby” to the neighborhood. The saying goes “it takes a village to raise a child”. Ruby raised the whole village. She bossed everyone around and would whip other people’s kids, then tell their parents. All the kids in the neighborhood respected and loved Mrs. Ruby. She always stressed education and improving oneself. She baked the neighborhood kids their favorite cake or cookies for jobs well done. Ruby loved bragging to her friends when her children or grandchildren excelled in school.


Cherie S. White
Cherie S. White
Cherie S. White is Director of Digital Strategy for the Tom Joyner Foundation, a writer and editor.

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