Know Your History: George T. Ruby
There are so many African Americans who fought for our advancement in the Texas political arena, and we won’t stop until you get to know them all. Learn about George Thompson Ruby in this week’s “Know Your History.”
Ruby (1841-1882) was a prominent black Republican leader in Reconstruction-era Texas. Born in New York and raised in Portland, Maine, he worked in Boston and Haiti before teaching in New Orleans, Louisiana before the end of the American Civil War.
In September 1866, with Louisiana schools shutting down for lack of funding, Ruby left for Galveston, Texas where the Freedmen’s Bureau agent assigned him as an agent and teacher. Working to set up and run schools for Blacks, Ruby helped organize local chapters of the Union League on which mobilization for the newly created Republican party would depend. In 1868, he was elected the League’s first state president, a powerful political position. Later that year, he was the first African-American from Texas to attend the Republican National Convention. In time, he became editor of the Galveston Standard. Like many Republican papers, it had a brief life.
Provisional Governor Elisha M. Pease appointed Ruby as a notary public in Galveston. When elections took place for delegates to a state constitutional convention in 1868, Ruby was chosen for the district comprising Brazoria, Galveston, and Matagorda counties. He was one of 10 African Americans elected as delegates. He allied with the more radical end of the party. Deeply disturbed by the conservative compromises that made it into the final document, Ruby worked for some months to have it defeated or rejected by the national government. He believed that equal rights for Blacks in Texas depended on a Republican government.
Although discussed as a possible running-mate for Republican gubernatorial nominee Edmund J. Davis, Ruby was far younger at age 28 than would have been the norm. In addition, Republicans were reluctant to nominate a Black candidate, because of the risk of driving away white votes. Blacks were a minority statewide. In 1870, he was first elected to the Texas Senate in a very close vote, where he served two terms, in 1870-71 and again in 1873. He pressed hard for bills protecting the freedpeople’s civil rights, including a measure opening public conveyances to all, regardless of race—a bill that white members made sure never came to a vote. At the same time, with an eye to his largely white constituency, Ruby introduced bills supporting construction of railroads radiating from Galveston, including several transcontinental projects such as the Southern Pacific and the International & Great Northern. Railroad aid was not a win-win deal; money or lands appropriated to help out their projects came at the expense of other needs of the state, such as a well-financed public school system. He served as a delegate to two Republican Party national conventions, the first time as the only African American from Texas.
He was also appointed as a customs officer in Galveston in 1869. With close connections to labor organizations in Galveston and as president of the Texas Colored Labor Convention in 1869, Ruby had influence far beyond Galveston. He also helped Black workers gain jobs at the Galveston docks after 1870. One historian called Ruby, “the most important black politician in Texas during Reconstruction in terms of power and ability.” He had an ability to mobilize Republican voters along the Gulf Coast and black voters everywhere in Texas.
“In the post-Civil War era no Black man in Texas exercised more political power than did George Thompson Ruby,” Moneyhon wrote. “An astute politician, Ruby built a base of power in the Black community of Galveston, then used that support to make himself a major force in the state at large. He was a forceful advocate of civil and political rights for his race, but he knew when to compromise to gain his larger goals, and he moved carefully among hostile white politicians in his efforts to expand opportunities for Black people.”
With the return of the Democrats to power in 1874, Ruby left Texas and returned to Louisiana. Ruby died on October 31,1882 of malaria at his home on Euterpe Street, New Orleans.
October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit www.edwardsforhouston.com
As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.
Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.