The Ruby L. Bailey Scholarship

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Ruby L. Bailey

Dec. 13, 1920 - Sept. 18, 1988

Ruby L. Bailey was born in rural Alabama. One of eleven siblings. She got married at the age of seventeen. When she got divorced, the neighbors said it was no way she could raise all those boys and one girl by herself. They did not know the tenacity that Ruby possessed and would instill in her children. Each of her children had chores and were taught to perform them without question. Ruby vowed to never ask for help from any man or government agency, ignoring the suggestions and advice of friends and family.

With a sixth grade education, Ruby worked as a maid and waitress. She raised six children for more than fifteen years in the backwoods of Marion, Alabama in a house with no electricity or indoor plumbing. She then moved to Morris, Alabama, to a house with electricity but no indoor plumbing. After two years she moved to Warrior, Alabama, this house had electric and indoor water but an outhouse for a bathroom. It was not until years later that Ruby finally lived in a home with indoor plumbing and electricity.

Ruby's religious faith enabled her to provide for her children while making $25 per week cleaning homes, She also donated to her church and cleaned other people homes for free that were sick or unable to clean for themselves, Her children complained that she was over working herself, but she always believed that "God will make a way". Even after her children paid her to retire she continued to work providing free services for the sick and shut-in.

Ruby's passions were church, flowers, her vegetable garden and shopping. When asked why she would spend all Saturday shopping without buying anything, she would say "I like looking at all the pretty things". Not only did she fill every space around her home with flowers, she planted flowers in her neighbors yards, whether they wanted them or not. Then she would insist they maintain them.

She was known as Mu Dear to her children and Mrs. Ruby to the neighborhood. The saying goes "it takes a village to raise a child" and Ruby raised the whole village. She bossed everyone around and would whip other people's kids then tell their parents. All the kids in the neighborhood respected and loved Mrs. Ruby. She always stressed education and improving oneself. She baked the neighborhood kids their favorite cake or cookies for jobs well done. Ruby loved bragging to her friends when her children or grandchildren excelled in school.

Long before the terms Strong Black Woman and Black Girls Rock were created, Ruby was an independent strong Black Woman and she Rocked!

The inscription on her tombstone says it all!     "YOU WERE MOTHER & FATHER TO SIX CHILDREN."

                                                                            REST OUR MOTHER YOU HAVE EARNED IT

The Ruby L. Bailey Scholarship has been created to provide one (1) need-based scholarship of $3,000.00 to a Black student who is currently attending an HBCU. $2,000.00 will be paid for the Fall/Spring and $1,000.00 will be paid for Summer classes or the next Fall semester.

Eligibility Requirements:

  1. Must have a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA on the 4.0 scale.
  2. Must file a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) each year.
  3. Must have demonstrated unmet financial need, verified by the student’s college or university’s financial aid office.
  4. Must be enrolled full-time at a UNCF member institution or other HBCU.
  5. Must be Black/African American.  

Preference will be given to candidates who are single parents or a child of a single parent household.  

Application Requirements: 

  1. Applicants must submit via UNCF’s online scholarship application portal by November 15, 2022.  All parts of the application must be completed and submitted by the deadline.
  2. One letter of recommendation from a non-family member
  3. Essay – Applicants must submit a one-page personal statement online, regarding the student’s career goal interest.
  4. A transcript from Spring 2022 or the most recent semester that the applicant was enrolled.  The transcript does not need to be official but the applicant's name must be visible and it must show their cumulative gpa.  

 Letter of Recommendation Guidance:

  1. One letter of recommendation (LOR) is required to complete this application. The recommender must not be a family member / relative. The LOR must be made through the UNCF online Application System and must be received by the application due date. Emailed LORs will not be accepted.
  2. Applicants should give the recommender ample time to complete the LOR by entering all recommender information (name and email) as early as possible. The recommender will be sent automated instructions at the email address provided to submit the LOR in the Applicant System. Applicants will receive "Invite References" reminders until a recommender is invited. 

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Please direct any questions to Ms. Marissa Simms ( 

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