Did you know? In the 1950s, white men had paramour rights -or the right to use Black women for s*ex regardless of whether or not they are willing to have se*x and regardless if they are married. This is the story of Ms. Ruby McCollum, one of those unfortunate victims of paramour rights. Ms. Ruby, fed up with being raped, shot and k*illed the white man who forced her into se*x and to bear his children. The married woman was pregnant with another of the man’s baby’s when she shot him in 1952. Ms. Ruby was sentenced to the electric chair for the m*urder, but under appeal, was sent to a psychiatric hospital until 1974.
She was born on August 31, 1909, to Gertrude and William Jackson McCollum. After a short time in separate classrooms, she was one of six kids who went to a private school. The wealthy African American woman was arrested and found guilty of k*illing a well-known white doctor who was running for Florida State Senator at the time of his death in 1952. She lived in Live Oak, Florida.
Ruby and Sam Marry
In 1931, Ms. Jackson got married to Sam McCollum. They moved to New York’s Nyack. By the early 1950s, the McCollums were very wealthy from selling burial plans and running their funeral home. Sam and his brother ran a gambling hall and a liquor store on the side. They had four children together: Sam Jr., Kay, Sonja, and Loretta. Ruby said that Loretta’s father was Dr. C. Leroy Adams.
During this time, African Americans were treated and seen as second-class citizens. Along with beatings and lynchings, white men se*xually as*saulted Black women, even though they said it was their “paramour rights.”
Things started to change for the better after the civil rights laws were passed in the middle of the 1960s. African Americans were given more freedoms.
McCollum Shoots Dr. Adams in the Chest
On August 3, 1952, Ruby went to see Dr. Leroy Adams at his office. Ruby shot the senator-elect four times in the chest in his office while she was at work.
Ruby told the police She said that Dr. Adams had raped her many times and that he was the father of her daughter Loretta. Adams wrote letters to the police that showed he ab*used her. He had given her another child when she k*illed him.
Ruby was arrested. Sam died from a heart attack the following day after fleeing to Zuber to protect the children.
An employee who worked for Dr. Adamsconfirmed seeing Adams accept large deliveries of cash after McCollum publicly told of Dr. Adam’s participation in her husband’s illegal gambling business.
Ruby McCollum Sentenced to Die by Electric Chair
Even though there was a lot of evidence against Ruby, the all-white jury of men, some of whom had been patients of Dr. Adams’s, found her guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced her to death by electric chair. But the judge wouldn’t let Ruby say that Dr. Adams forced her to have se*x with him and give birth to his children. They learned that Dr. Adams was her “lover.”
Frank Cannon, Ruby’s lawyer, put in an appeal in the case. Ruby said she was insane during her second trial, but she was found to be mentally fit to stand trial. She was given the chance to speak at this trial. She spoke in a way that was almost mechanical and programmed:
“That afternoon, before the evening of the first se*xual encounter, Dr. Adams came to my house and told me, “I will be back in the morning as soon as I finish all of my work. I will be back and I will show you what I was talking about…” And he came back to the house around 9:30 the next morning, took me upstairs, laid me down on the bed, and started making love. When it was over, he left and said, “I’ll be back some other time.” Please call me at a different time. “Yes, I will,” I answered. He came to the house when I wasn’t there because I hadn’t called him in three or four days. When I got back, he was still there, and I told him, “I didn’t know you were coming to my house today.” He replied, “You didn’t call me, but I came back out here for the same thing I did before.” “Yes, okay,” I replied. He then told her, “I want you to get this now.” Please don’t do anything stupid, and you’re not green. You will feel bad if I have to tell you about it again.”
The court sentenced her to the Florida State Hospital where she stayed until 1974.
Ms. McCollum died from a stroke at the New Horizon Rehabilitation Center in Silver Springs, Florida, on May 23, 1992. She was 82-years-old.