Ruby Hurley (1909–1980) was born in Washington, D.C., where she attended Miner Teachers College and Robert H. Terrell Law School. She began her NAACP work in 1939 by organizing a youth council in Washington, D.C. In 1943 she was named national youth secretary. During her tenure the number of youth units grew from 86 to 280. In 1951 Hurley was sent to Birmingham, Alabama, to coordinate membership drives in the Deep South. As a result, she organized the Southeast Regional Office, becoming its first director. Under her leadership the Southeast Region became the NAACP’s largest region with more than 500 branches. When Alabama banned the NAACP in 1956, Hurley moved to Atlanta. There she defended the NAACP in disputes with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. She retired as regional director in 1978.