The Legacy of Ruth Ellis
Ruth Ellis Center is named in honor of the life and work of Ruth Ellis, who was respected and loved for her longevity and endurance as one of Detroit’s oldest and proudest African-American lesbians, the first woman in the City of Detroit to own her own printing company, and for her many years of service to all people in need. Born in 1899, Ruth came out as a lesbian in 1915. Beginning in the 1930s, Ms. Ellis provided shelter, physical support and spiritual affirmation to those whose race, sexual orientation or both set them apart from the dominant culture. Ruth lived to be 101, seeing the Center come to being prior to her passing in 2000. The work we continue to do at the Ruth Ellis Center is built upon her model of responsibility to oneself and one’s community.