Ramon S. Scruggs, Sr. Papers

Accession Number: 
12 linear feet (19 MB, 2 OS, 1 film reel)

Best known as the first African-American member of management at both Michigan Bell Telephone Company and AT&T, Ramon S. Scruggs, Sr. served as an influential civil rights figure in the American business community. Scruggs’ career began at the Rumford Baking Company as a National Sales Representative in 1932, the first African American to hold such a prominent position in the food industry. He left the company to join the Detroit Urban League and local YMCA branch, starting a relationship with community organizations, which he maintained even after his return to the business world. 1939 saw Scruggs become the first African-American white-collar employee at Michigan Bell, and he continued to integrate higher levels of management at the telephone company. In the following years, Scruggs’ pioneering successes brought him national attention and he traveled the country speaking on behalf of African-American professionals. He also became involved politically, campaigning for and meeting with figures such as Richard Nixon and Hubert H. Humphrey. By 1963, Scruggs had been promoted to AT&T’s headquarters staff where he led projects regarding race and business practices from a national platform until his retirement ten years later. Scruggs’ community work included serving on the Board of Trustees at Fisk University, the NAACP Special Contribution Fund, and the Children’s Hospital of Michigan.

Scruggs grew up in Nashville and stayed in Tennessee to attend college at Fisk University. After retiring he moved to Los Angeles. In 1984, he was slain there during a home invasion. Through the example of his business acumen and advocating spirit, Scruggs is credited for opening up numerous managerial-level opportunities to African Americans in corporate America.

The Ramon S. Scruggs Papers are comprised of materials relating to Scruggs’ social advocacy and business dealings. The largest section of the collection belongs to the Correspondence series, which contains official and personal messages related to his numerous daily activities. The Political and Social Activism series encompasses materials from the social causes he participated in, such as transcripts of the numerous speeches he gave around the country in the 1960s. Records related to his various employers, the Professional Affiliations series includes publications on racial issues he helped create for Michigan Bell and AT&T. Finally, the Audiovisual and Oversize series mostly contains photographs of special events attended by Scruggs, notably a testimonial luncheon held in his honor in 1963.

1935-1985, bulk 1960-1974
Attachment(click to download)
UP002428.pdfUP002428_guide.pdf125.18 KB