On February 26, members of Ace Media traveled to Dubuque, Iowa to interview Sister Mary Lee Cox. This served as our first in-person interview.
Sister Mary Lee first met Ruby Sutton while teaching at St. Mary’s and working at Operation New View in Dubuque.
In 1989, Ruby Sutton received the NAACP First Humanitarian Award, which was later renamed the “Ruby Sutton Award” in her honor. The Ruby Sutton Award exists to exemplify everything that Ruby stood for such as: positive civic engagement, equality for all, and the fight for racial justice and poverty.
In 1993, Sister Mary Lee won the Ruby Sutton Award for her achievements.
“[Ruby] was always a model, they created the Ruby Sutton award in her honor, because they knew of all that she had done here in this city, and how, what an impact she had made. Each person coming on as leader certainly had their leaders ship skills, and each one gave a different impact. But none of us have forgotten what Ruby Sutton did for NAACP here in Dubuque,” Cox said.
As an educator, Sister Mary Lee uses Ruby’s legacy in her work to teach children to respect others in all aspects of their lives.
“The part of Ruby Sutton that I bring to them is the reverence for their cultures, to know their culture, to know their customs and to teach them always to respect one another, to respect themselves first, and everyone that comes into their day,” Cox said.
After the interview, Sister Mary Lee invited us to view the Sisters of St. Francis building while telling us stories about the history of the center and the volunteer work that they do.
The interview with Sister Mary Lee was an incredible experience and gave Ace Media a closer look into the life of Ruby Sutton and the activism and work she did for the city of Dubuque.