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Ruby Butts

Born on 4-4-1905. She was born in Hogansville, GA. She later died on 6-3-2000.
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Ruby Butts was born on November 25, 1905, in Hogansville, Georgia. She attended Spellman College in Atlanta and the University at Buffalo.

After earning her degrees, Ruby lived in Ashville, North Carolina, where she taught cosmetology at the Alien Home Methodist School for Girls. She also operated a successful beauty and hairdressing business.

In 1937, she moved to Niagara Falls, New York, with her two daughters, Hortense and Gloria, to join her husband, George, who had taken up residence one year prior.

After residing for little more than a year in Niagara Falls, the Butts family moved to Buffalo. Within a short time, Mrs. Butts enrolled her daughters in the Sunday School of the historic Michigan Avenue Baptist Church, pastored by the Reverend J. Edward Nash. Mrs. Butts not only took her children to Sunday school, she became one of its finest teachers, and was ultimately made Sunday School superintendent, a position which she held for several years.

As a community activist, Mrs. Butts served on the City's Human Relations Council; ran for public office, once; was president of the Buffalo Chapter of the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Clubs, Inc. (NANBPW); was one of ten nationally appointed regional organizers for NANBPW during the early 1970s; founded the Sojourner Truth Club to provide services and programs for local young women; and was a member of the Book-Lover's Club. Among her many recognitions are the Sojourner Truth National Award and the Community Service Award presented by the University at Buffalo.

For approximately thirty-five years, Mrs. Butts owned and operated a beauty and hairdressing salon in Buffalo. She started the business in her home on Clinton Street. Later she moved the business to Jefferson Avenue near Ferry Street. She loved hair design, but she also had great concern and interest in health issues, especially as they affected African American people. As a result, she slowly began to sell "health-food" products at her salon. It was while on Jefferson Avenue that she decided to expand on her knowledge of cultural variations in nutrition and health care and took two trips around the world as a member of the World Vegetarian Congress. She made visits to Africa, India, and Europe. HerĀ· health business was known as The Healthful Food Shoppe and it was the first business of its kind in Buffalo that was operated by and for African Americans. Finally, she gave up the salon and concentrated solely on her health-food business. Its last location was 19 E. Utica Street, where a housing complex has been named in her honor by the Buffalo and Erie County Community Action Organization (CAO).

Mrs. Butts died in 2000 at the age of ninety-four.