‘Mama Ruth Way’: Albany educator honored through sign dedication
ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - A pioneer educator who opened Albany’s first African American pre-school is being honored by the city.
The late Ruth Hall Anderson now has a city street in her name, Mama Ruth Way. City leaders said the name is fitting of how Mama Ruth paved the way.
A woman determined to create opportunities for African American children — that’s how many remember Mama Ruth. She established Hansel and Gretel Kindergarten during times of segregation in Albany. But while Mama Ruth’s creation of formal education for young black children was a step forward in education, many remember the atmosphere and inspiring impact she left behind.
“She had a hug for you, she had a pop in the behind if you need that too,” said Demetrius Young, Albany City Commissioner.
Dr. Alma Noble, owner of Baby World Development Day Care, was moved to open her own facility after watching Mama Ruth change the narrative of education.
“She was a bridge builder. She created a legacy,” she said.
Through that legacy, Mama Ruth stood firm on a headstart and early development for many African American students that were denied that at the time.
Vera Wadley Sims and Catherine Wadley Sims, who were a part of Mama Ruth’s first two classes, said they still use Mama Ruth’s lessons to this day.
“Reading, writing and rhythmic,” Catherine said. “I mean one of those all-around people that you can always remember and think about them.”
“And she also taught us how to respect one another, to love one another in spite of. She was just that type of person,” Vera added.
Mama Ruth’s memory is still carried on by her family today.
“We knew her as being our grandmother, but we knew how important her job was in terms of the role that she played with people in Albany,” Dr. Valerie Overstreet Thomas, Mama Ruth’s granddaughter said.
While it may take a while to make Mama Ruth Way a permanent address, city leaders say this is a huge step forward in making sure that everyone in the community remembers who Mama Ruth was.
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