Community leader Ruth Anderson dies - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Community leader Ruth Anderson dies


Longtime civil rights activist and social worker Ruth Anderson of Waterloo has died.

Anderson, 91, was the first African-American director of social services in Black Hawk County.

She was also a longtime professor of social work at the University of Northern Iowa.

It was at UNI where, according to friends, Anderson won a lawsuit after being passed over for tenure.

Additionally, Anderson was the first African-American elected to the Black Hawk County Board of Supervisors where she served from 1988-1992.

Friends remember Anderson as a strong woman who impacted many lives with her empathy and compassion, particularly for young kids.

Melvina Scott of Waterloo credits Anderson as her mentor. She was a social work student of Anderson's who kept in regular contact for the remainder of Anderson's life.

Scott said Anderson was her mother figure after her own mother passed away in 1994.

"She impacted anyone's life she came in contact with," Scott said.

According to Scott, Anderson was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame. She was also named "Social Worker of the Year" by the Iowa chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

"Her motto was to make people's lives better," Scott said.

Anderson's published a book in 1985 entitled, "From Mother's Aid Child to University Professor: The Autobiography of an American Black Woman."

A visitation for Ruth Anderson will be from 4-7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 27, at Payne AME Church in Waterloo.

The funeral will be at noon Monday, Jan. 28, also at Payne AME Church.

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