Rubie White Bond
Rubie White Bond was born June 8, 1906 in Pontotoc, Mississippi. Her parents, Jack and Dora White, were sharecroppers for a man named Mr. Weatherall. Her parents were recruited by John McCord who had lived across the street from them in Mississippi to work at Fairbanks Morse in Beloit. Mrs. Bond knew Velma Bell Hamilton while in Mississippi because they both attended the same church. Later in Beloit they reconnected a bit in college. In her autobiography she describes her time in Pontotoc as being filled with constant fear as she recalled mobs and the sound of bloodhounds.
Mrs. Bond moved with her family to Beloit in 1917 and is listed in the 1920 census for Beloit. When in Beloit Mrs. Bond attended Strong School and was eventually one of the first students in Roosevelt Junior High School. Later she attended Beloit Memorial High and Beloit College for two and a half years. After graduating from High School Mrs. Bond had few options for employment besides being a maid or prostitute. However, she found a job working for a Black chiropodist and waiting tables. She attended Beloit College part time and during her time at the college she lent books to other Black students like Mrs. Hamilton. Mrs. Bond got married to Franklin Bond in 1927.
While in Beloit Mrs. Bond experienced various forms of discrimination. Although Wisconsin had a law instated in 1895 that segregation of public spaces was illegal various spaces and jobs remained segregated throughout the state. However, Mrs. Bond actively fought to desegregate jobs, institutions and clubs within the city. While she was in high school she forced the YWCA to admit her to its facilities. In the 1930s, after her marriage, she spearheaded the integration of the Beloit Memorial Hospital and aided in the integration of the Girls Scouts as her daughter was not allowed admittance. In 1943 her and five other Black women sat in for lunch at the Kresge store on Grand Avenue after being refused to be served. Having stayed for an hour they went and complained to the city manager who could do nothing about the matter. This incident led to her organizing various changes within the community. Later in the 1940s she helped organize the Women’s Community Club which advocated for the integration of Beloit Memorial Hospital, public school teachers, postal workers and get garbage disposal to Black neighborhoods. Mrs. Bond also participated in one of the earliest sit-ins in the country.
Mrs. Bond was a key figure in the creation of Beloit as a city and community. Without her contributions to not only politics and social issues regarding the Black members of Beloit but also her contributions to the written history of early Beloit, what we know about Beloit’s Black community would not be as well known. As an early addition to the community she has given information on life in Beloit as a Black woman and the struggles she faced growing up and coming to Beloit during the early stages of the Great Migration. Mrs. Bond passed away in 2002 having served her community to bring Black history to the public.
To view Mrs. Bond's collection click here.