Ruby L. Sutton
“She is a shining example of the power of
to effect lasting change.”
– Kelly Larson, 2010
Ruby L. Sutton, of Dubuque, is a champion of social justice. She moved to Dubuque in 1959; her family was one of only five African-American families at the time. Though she faced discrimination, Sutton chose to stay in the community and work to make Dubuque a welcoming community for people of color. Through both her work and volunteer involvement, she has touched thousands of people’s lives. Sutton served for 36 years as the outreach manager of the Operation New View Community Action Agency and 21 years on the Dubuque Human Rights Commission. She played a pivotal role in the formation of the Dubuque Community Advisory Panel. Sutton has been a tireless community activist, and is a source of inspiration, motivation, and empowerment. She has held many board and leadership positions in community organizations. She received Dubuque’s Telegraph Herald’s First Citizen Award in 1984, YWCA Women of Achievement Award in 1987, NAACP First Humanitarian Award in 1989, which was later renamed in her honor, and Peacemaker Award in 1999, and the Friends of Iowa Civil Rights Award in 2000. November 13th, 2009 was declared Ruby Sutton Day in Dubuque to recognize her many contributions to the community in areas of equality and justice. Born in 1932 in Lexington, Mississippi, Sutton grew up in Louisiana.