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Ruth Bluford Anderson

1982 Iowa Women's Hall of Fame Honoree:  Ruth Bluford Anderson (1921-2013)

"I have personally known Ruth Anderson for over ten years, and she has constantly contributed toward the betterment of the disadvantaged and misunderstood.”
—Margaret Rees

Ruth Bluford Anderson

Ruth Bluford Anderson, University of Northern Iowa associate professor of social work, has been especially interested in and actively involved in female substance abuse issues. She served as co-chair of the first statewide institute on the problems of women alcoholics, was a member of the Iowa Substance Abuse Commission, and was honored by the Des Moines unit of the National Council on Alcoholism for bringing the special problems of the female alcoholic to the attention of alcoholism treatment professionals. Anderson has contributed her leadership abilities to the Iowa Coalition of Community Organizations, the Iowa Mental Health Association, and local and interstate branches of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She was born in 1921. Anderson was inducted into the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame in 1982.UPDATE: Anderson is the author of From Mother's Aid Child to University Professor: An Autobiography of an American Black Woman, 1985. In 1989, Anderson became the first African-American woman to be elected to an at-large seat on the Black Hawk County Board of Supervisors. She also served on the Iowa Equality in the Courts Task Force. In 1990, Anderson retired after teaching 22 years and serves as Professor Emeritus for the University of Northern Iowa, Department of Social Work. Among the honors she has received are the Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Simpson College, 1990; Great Delta Teacher of the Year, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Baltimore, Maryland, 1992; and the Kirk Strong Award, Governor's Conference on Substance Abuse, 1992. In 1996, Anderson was inducted into the Iowa African-American Hall of Fame.

Update: Anderson received a lifetime achievement award from the National Association of Social Workers in 2012, and Anderson died on Jan. 22, 2013.