Ruth E. Ferguson taught in Albion for 39 years, first at the old West Ward School and then at Crowell Elementary School. Her father, Henry Elijah Morris, was born a slave on a North Carolina plantation. Her mother was Nancy Ann Martin Morris, born in Canada to former slaves who escaped servitude and made their way across the border. Three sisters and a brother were also teachers.
The Morris family settled in Saline, Michigan. Ruth was born November 12, 1900, and graduated from Ypsilanti State Normal School. She taught school in Paducah, Kentucky, before coming to Albion in 1926.
Ruth was a founder of the Albion Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, serving as vice president in 1941. During World War II she also was vice president of the Negro United Service Organization that entertained soldiers at Fort Custer. She was involved with a number of community organizations, including the Albion Teachers Club, Crowell Parent-Teacher Association, AAUW, Delta Kappa Gamma Sorority, and the Negro Business and Professional Women’s Club. Ruth was a member of the Albion Public Library Board for fifteen years.
Ruth received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan in 1951. She specialized in remedial reading instruction. She retired in June 1965. After retiring, she took a trip to Europe, and in 1967 was appointed to the board of the Albion Community Theater.
Though the Fergusons had no children of their own, “she had hundreds” including those she taught in the public schools and in the Sunday School of the Leggett Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church in Albion, where she was active for many years. She was also a member of the Church of God of Jackson. She died January 17, 1971, in Ann Arbor.
Sources: Albion Recorder, June 5, 1965;Albion Public Library Local History Room
From: Albion AAUW. Some Notable Women of the Albion Area. Albion, Michigan: American Association of University Women. 1998.
Ruth E. Ferguson taught at the West Ward School for 29 years beginning in 1926. She spent the remaining part of her teaching career at Crowell School until her retirement in 1965. Her long career as an elementary teacher has been remembered by many in the Albion community.
Source: Frank Passic. A History of the Albion Public Schools. Albion, Michigan: E. Weil Publishing Services. 1991.