Ruby McCollum was the richest black woman in Live Oak, Florida, in the 1940’s. She was married to known racketeer, “Bolita” Sam. In 1952, McCollum, a mother of four, was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to the electric chair for the murder of white Senator and Dr. LeRoy Adams. McCollum and Dr. Adams had also had a child together. One of the reporters covering the first trial, which consisted of an all-white male jury, was writer Zora Neale Hurston. Her article in the Pittsburgh Courier was titled, “The Life Story of Ruby McCollum.”
Ruby McCollum was born in Zuber, Fla. and was the second of six children. She married Sam McCollum in 1929. When the couple moved to Fort Myers, Fla., Sam became involved with his brother’s racketeering business, thus gaining the name “Bolita” Sam.
On August 3, 1952, McCollum shot and killed State Senator-elect, Dr. LeRoy Adams. She claimed that Adams had forcibly raped and impregnated her, forcing the birth of their child. On December 20, 1952, McCollum was found guilty and sentenced to death after a trial that Hurston wrote, “contained disadvantages on the side of the defense.” McCollum was only allowed to state that she had “submitted herself” to the doctor when her husband was out of town and that they had a child together. When her attorney attempted to build the story from those statements in court, he was given objection repeatedly.
However, in a Supreme Court decision on July 20, 1954, the conviction and sentence were overturned since the presiding judge, Hal W. Adams, failed to be present during the jury inspection of the scene of the crime. The case brought into question “paramour rights”, which is the term given to a form of sexual slavery between a white man and a black woman.
There was an additional trial in which McCollum’s defense attorneys used a plea of insanity for the defendant. McCollum was declared mentally incompetent and incarcerated for 20 years in the Florida State Hospital for mental patients at Chattahoochee, Fla. It’s important to note that the main testimony of Dr. Dillard Workman, Dr. Adams’ medical associate, was also the prenatal doctor for the child conceived by McCollum and Adams and was Adams’ former campaign supporter. Dr. Workman also completed the autopsy of Dr. Adams and testified in court as the medical expert. He supported McCollum’s insanity on the stand.
McCollum was sent to the State Mental Hospital in Chattahoochee and likely given unnecessary and extensive treatments. In 1974, with the help of her second trial attorney, McCollum was sent to a nursing facility. She remained there until May 23, 1992, when she died of a stroke.
In a tag-team effort with Hurston, author William Huie wrote the book, “Ruby McCollum: Woman in the Suwannee Jail”, which was a full account of the Ruby McCollum case. Huie was present for the appeal and second trial of the case.
The intriguing story of Ruby McCollum is told in an award-winning documentary called “The Other Side of Silence” by Dr. Claudia Johnson. As she completed the film, Dr. Johnson was sent death threats by those who wished to keep the racism of Live Oak, Florida a secret.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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