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Honoring Matilda Ruff: A Tale of Resilience and Legacy in Cobb County

user2024-06-19 16:13

**Honoring the Unsung Heroine: Matilda Ruff and Her Legacy in Cobb County**

In the heart of Cobb County’s Concord Covered Bridge Historic District, the Ruff family has left an indelible imprint on the community. However, amidst the commemorations of the Ruff patriarchs, a lesser-known figure has remained largely unnoticed: Matilda Ruff, a woman whose resilience and contributions have shaped the area’s history.

**Matilda’s Emancipation and Legacy**

Matilda Ruff was enslaved by the Ruff family. After the Civil War, she was emancipated and became a neighbor to her former owner’s son, a testament to her determination and strength. Matilda’s perseverance extended beyond her own emancipation, as she paved the way for a better future for her children.

**The Toni Morrison Society Bench Dedication**

On the eve of Juneteenth, the Toni Morrison Society and the Concord Covered Bridge Historic District dedicated a bench at the entrance to the Silver Comet Trail in Matilda Ruff’s honor. This bench serves as a tangible reminder of her and her family’s contributions to the community, as well as a symbol of the countless enslaved people who toiled in Cobb County.

Matilda Ruff Bench

**The Ruff Family’s Role**

The Ruff family played a pivotal role in the development of Cobb County. They established Ruff’s Mill, which became a strategic Civil War battle site, and contributed to the construction of the Concord Covered Bridge. Their legacy extends beyond architecture and industry, embodying the spirit of innovation and community that shaped the county’s identity.

**Matilda’s Garden**

To further honor Matilda Ruff, the Jonquil Garden Club of Smyrna has planted Matilda’s Garden in her memory. This vibrant display of flowers stands as a testament to her resilience, her legacy as a free woman, and her continuing impact on the community.

**A Call for Reflection**

The dedication of the bench and the establishment of Matilda’s Garden serve as a call for reflection on the nation’s history of slavery. As State Rep. Terry Cummings eloquently stated, “This is the truth. This is America’s truth and the story that must be told.”

By recognizing and celebrating the contributions of unsung heroes like Matilda Ruff, we not only honor their legacies but also pave the way for a more inclusive and equitable future. Through dialogue and remembrance, we can create a community that embraces its diverse history and strives for progress.

**Additional Insights**

* Matilda Ruff’s former neighbors, the Ruffs, acknowledged her significant contributions to their farm despite the abolition of slavery, indicating a shift in dynamics.

* The Ruff family played an active role in promoting education in the area, establishing schools and donating land for a schoolhouse.

* Matilda Ruff’s family’s wealth grew over time, demonstrating their economic resilience and the opportunities available to former slaves in the post-emancipation era.

* The dedication of the bench and the creation of Matilda’s Garden are part of an ongoing effort to rectify historical omissions and recognize the contributions of people of color in the community.