Ruth Ellis took care of other people's homes and children before
becoming an independent printer. She is known as "the oldest
living black lesbian in America," and is an activist and
an advocate for senior and lesbian rights. Ellis was honored
last June at the Black Lesbian and Gay Pride Day in Washington,
D.C. A documentary film has been made about her life, and she
has her own Web site (www-lib.usc.edu/~retter/ ruthmain.html).
Since separating from her longtime partner many years ago, she
has lived independently in her own apartment.
What was the most important thing
that happened for women during this century? There
is more advance in politics. If all women would get together
and vote, we could do wonders. We need more women in big offices.
How did it affect your life?
There is more tolerance now. But I always felt more restricted
because I was black than because I was a woman and a lesbian.
What advice would you give to girls
today? Understand yourself, and do not hide anything.
It's your outlook on life that allows you to survive and live
well. Get as much education as you can, because everything is
advancing. Try to learn a language different than your own, travel
as much as possible, and live a modest life.