When Ruby Grier was born on Feb. 11, 1907 in Hebron, Ala., the president of the United States was Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt. Ruby was the seventh child of 13 siblings. She has outlived all but her nephew, William Palmer. Living on her own until she was almost 100 years of age, Ruby has been a longtime West Side resident, and in her case, “longtime” means something. She is now a resident at the Mayfield Care Center, 5905 W. Washington Blvd., where April Brownlee and and staff and Administrator Moshe Davis treat her like a queen.
“Ruby participates in most of our activities, including some field trips,” said Brownlee. “She has a wonderful appetite and is always so very pleasant and easy to care for. I feel honored to be able to care for her and experience her wonderful demeanor.”
When Ruby answers a question, she finishes by saying, “Thank you.” When it came time for her to blow out the candles on her cake, she looked for April to help her. She really enjoyed the chocolate cake, as did other residents who were present for the birthday celebration.
The year Ruby was born (1907), Dr. Alain L. Locke (1886-1954) became the first African-American Rhodes Scholar. He studied at Oxford in England from 1907-1910; the African-American newspaper Pittsburgh Courier was established by an aspiring writer and security guard at the H.J. Heinz food plant, Edwin Harleston; The Union, another early African-American newspaper, started publishing on Feb. 13, 1907 in Cincinnati, Ohio; actress Katherine Hepburn was born May 12; actor Cesar Romero was born Feb.15, and actor John Wayne on May 26. Unfortunately, there were also 10 lynchings in her home state of Alabama.
Sharing a Feb. 11 birthday with Ruby is Cong. Danny Davis’ wife, Vera. And on Feb. 11, 1990, Nelson Mandela was finally released from prison in South Africa after 27 years.