"Ruby was allowed to describe how, about 1948, during an extended absence of her husband, she had, in her home, submitted to the doctor. She was allowed to state that her youngest child was his. Yet thirty-eight times Frank Cannon attempted to proceed from this point; thirty-eight times he attempted to create the opportunity for Ruby to tell her whole story and thus explain what were her motives; thirty-eight times the State objected; and thirty-eight times Judge Adams sustained these objections." -  Zora Neale Hurston, in the Pittsburgh Courier

Ruby McCollum, born Ruby Jackson (August 31, 1909 – May 23, 1992), was a wealthy married African-American woman in Live Oak, Florida, who is known for being arrested and convicted in 1952 for killing Dr. C. Leroy Adams, a prominent white doctor and state senator–elect. The judge restricted her testimony, but she did testify as to their sexual relationship and his paternity of her child. The judge prohibited her from recounting her allegations that Adams had repeatedly raped her, and forced her to bear his children. She was sentenced to death for his murder by an all-white jury. The sensational case was covered widely in the United States press, as well as by international papers. McCollum was subjected to a gag order. Her case was appealed and overturned by the State Supreme Court.

Before the second trial, McCollum was examined and found mentally incompetent to stand trial. She was committed to the state mental hospital (Florida State Hospital) at Chattahoochee, Florida. In 1974 her attorney, Frank Cannon, obtained her release under the Baker Act, as she was not considered a danger to herself or others.


Conjure Woman's Cat

 In the spotlight

The Case of Ruby McCollum

During this case, we heard the term "paramour rights," the notion--stemming from the days of slavery--that white men could have non-consensual sex with any Black woman they wanted with little if any consequences. In the publisher's description of one book about the trial, McCollum is said to have murdered her "white lover" rather than killing a man she claimed had been raping her for years. The word "lover" hardly applies.

Danielle L. McGuire writes in her  2004 "The Journal of American History" article, "It Was like All of Us Had Been Raped: Sexual Violence, Community Mobilization, and the African American Freedom Struggle," Despite a growing body of literature that focuses on the roles of black and white women and the operation of gender in the movement, sexualized violence-both as a tool of oppression and as a political spur for the movement has yet to find its place in the story of the African American freedom struggle. Rape, like lynching and murder, served as a tool of psychological and physical intimidation that expressed white male domination and buttressed white supremacy."

Malcolm R. Campbell in Paramour Rights, the past you seldom hear about

From Eulalie and Washerwoman

"Gives us time for a quickie behind the brush pile, brown sugar,” said Billy “We’ll pop your clutch and see how fast you scream ‘Lordy Lordy’ and beg for more.”

Billy was in the process of massaging her bottom and leaning in close enough to lick the frown off her lips when he froze, froze like time looked away, then screamed, “Holy shit,” and stumbled back holding his neck, and for Hank it was the same even though his greedy fingers hadn’t quite reached Eulalie’s blouse, freezing though as the good Lord covered his eyes, wailing then like a stuck pig before stumbling backward over a keg of nails.

“Yellowjackets don’t believe in paramour rights,” said Eulalie. 

She winked at me and walked off down the street. I stood there and watched Billy and Hank shoving their heads into the icy slush in the Coca-Cola cooler until they ran out of fresh profanity.
Eulalie stopped midway to the Eldorado, about where the baseball diamond used to be, and shoved enough scrap tobacco into her mouth for multiple chews. She did that when she was fit to be tied.

“This is just my opinion, Lena, but the world will be a better place if those trailer trash are allergic to yellowjackets and die slow, painful deaths behind the brush pile. The state overseers just threw poor Ruby McCollum in the asylum up in Quincy because she might have killed that white doctor in Live Oak for raping her for six years. They’ll pump her full of drugs until the world forgets about her. She should have used yellowjackets.”