Black and Women’s History Moment

Dr. Ruth Cave Flowers was one of the first African-American women to graduate from the University of Colorado.

Ruth Cave, born in 1902 and raised until the age of 15 in Colorado Springs, Cave and her grandmother relocated to Boulder. Despite graduating from Boulder High School, Cave was refused her degree because of her race. Upon entering CU, Cave faced more bigotry including being denied food service, but the president, an opponent of the local Ku Klux Klan, supported her and found her a job. She traveled south to teach French and Latin at Claflin College in South Carolina, then returned to CU earning a master’s in French and Education. A move to Washington, D.C. to teach at Dunbar High School helped her while she attended the Robert H. Terrell Law School in the city.

Cave met fellow law student Harold Flowers and the pair wed, opening a practice together. But when their marriage ended in divorce, Cave and her son moved back to Boulder after she earned Ph.D from the Catholic University of America in 1951. Cave taught foreign languages at Fairview High School, becoming the first Black teacher in the Boulder Valley School District.

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