Dr. Ruth Love 1

Dr. Ruth Burnett Love (April 22, 1932* – June 6, 2022) was the superintendent of the Oakland Unified School District beginning in November 1975, after the assassination of Marcus Foster in November 1973. In 1981 she took the job of superintendent of the Chicago Public Schools. 1

* NB: Although some articles list her birth year as 1935, most records including the 1940 census 6 and her obituary 7 give her birth year as 1932.

Love was born in Oklahoma to Alvin E. Love (1910 – 1967) and Burnett Carrie Williams (Love) (1907 – 1997), 2,6 the second of 5 children. By c.1946, the family had moved to Bakersfield, CA, where Love attended high school (1950). She then studied education at San Jose State University (1954), got a masters from San Francisco State University (1959), and a PhD in human behavior and psychology from the United States International University (1970). 1 Her grandfather, Andrew W. Williams, escaped slavery, and founded a school for Blacks in Lawton, Oklahoma. 3,7

She was married twice, first to Phillip Holmes Goodwin [ may have been the nephew of Thomas Berkley ] beginning in 1954, and then to James Ashley Holloway beginning in 1967, but didn't have any children. Her name is listed in a marriage license to Otto Terrance Hall in 1963, 4 but there's no records found of them marrying. She was good friends with Carlton Goodlett, publisher of the California Voice and the Sun-Reporter. 9

In 1960, Love became a teacher with OUSD. She was a Fulbright Exchange Educator, traveling to both Ghana and England. She also served with a number of organizations and commissions, including the President's Mental Health Commission, working alongside First Lady Rosalynn Carter. 5 In 1971, Love was chosen as Director of The Right to Read program with the U.S. Office of Health and Education. 1

Following the assassination of Dr. Marcus Foster in 1973, Robert Blackburn served as interim superintendent of OUSD. In November 1975, Love was appointed superintendent, and served until 1981 when she took the job of superintendent of Chicago Public Schools.

When she returned to Oakland, Love ran a consulting firm, and taught at San Francisco State before retiring in 2014. In 2015, mayor Libby Schaaf declared April 26, 2015, as Dr. Ruth Love Day. Love died in 2022.

Links and References

  1. Ruth B. Love on Wikipedia
  2. Alvin E. Love FindAGrave.com
  3. Ruth Love berkeley.edu (via archive.org)
  4. Licenses Issued Oakland Tribune January 22, 1963
  5. Protestors Greet The First Lady Oakland Tribune June 21, 1977
  6. 1940 Census ancestry.com
  7. In Memoriam: Dr. Ruth Love, 90 Oakland Post June 18, 2022
  8. Engaged Bakersfield Californian December 30, 1953
  9. Even as a child, Ruth Love had instinct to lead Oakland Tribune October 20, 1980 (p2)