February marks the recognition of Black History Month, an annual reflection on Black history and also a celebration of the Black community's culture and achievements. With the importance of this recognition in mind, the McKinney Area Democratic Club recently announced a new scholarship for approved applicants of the McKinney Chamber of Commerce Leadership McKinney educational program. The scholarship is named in honor of Ruby Gross (Hines) Babers.

Born in Dallas in 1925 to teenage parents and raised by her grandmother, Ruby worked as a maid during the day, worked nights cleaning the Wilson Building in downtown Dallas, and checked groceries on Saturdays as a cashier – three jobs week after week – all while raising her children as a single mother. In the early 1960s, after saving money for a downpayment to purchase a home for herself and her children, Ruby tried to get a mortgage, but banks would not lend to an unmarried or divorced woman. The bank advised Ruby to get her ex-husband to put HER house in his name, which meant she had to ask her ex-husband for his help to purchase a home that he had never contributed to financially. He agreed, and his name remained on her house until the early 1970s, when the Supreme Court struck down gender discrimination in lending, and the title was transferred into Ruby's name.

Ruby was strong, independent, smart, thoughtful, and she loved her family. She lamented the fact she had to work so much and so hard when her children were young, but she didn't have another choice. Her children knew then, and still appreciate now, all the sacrifices she made for them. Ruby always wished she could have remained in school to learn skills that would have allowed her to lead a different kind of life so she could be more present for her children. But because of the great sacrifices Ruby made, her children had good lives and were also able to help provide for their children. She was a fierce advocate of education and pushed for her children and grandchildren to work hard and learn as much as possible to ensure their success.

The scholarship was announced by Tonya Babers Dangerfield, granddaughter of the scholarship's honoree, at the "Future of African Americans in Politics." Held at the McKinney Performing Arts Center, this presentation, one of the City of McKinney's premier events in recognition of Black History Month. included Q&As from current elected political figures, introductions from local candidates running for office, and the Leadership McKinney scholarship announcement. The McKinney Area Democratic Club's scholarship will consider applicants who are women or men of color who have been approved for the upcoming year's class for Leadership McKinney. It is the Club's belief that each scholarship recipient can take this educational seed and begin to grow and shine in their community as they create a better life for themselves and their descendants. For more information, please email info@mckinneydemocrats.org.