African American Studies


Ruth Stevens is a Caribbean immigrant to the Bronx who attained a high-level position at CBS before ultimately changing careers to become a teacher. Her story offers insight into both her experience as an immigrant and her experience within the world of corporate America.

Stevens was born in 1950 in the area that currently makes up the country of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. During her childhood, she said that families had often been strict but that children still had the right to explore their surrounds. Stevens told the Bronx African-American History Project that her family ran a store on St. Vincent, which sold goods such as fabric and codfish. Additionally, her stepmother also acted as a seamstress. Stevens credited her stepmother with teaching her the importance of hard work and determining one’s own destiny.

Stevens moved to the United States at the age of 19 ½ in order to join her mother and sister who had gone before her to New York. She described moving to the United States as a culture shock, since many of the stories she had heard about America did not line up with what she actually experienced on moving. In the United States, Stevens attended business school at New York Business in Manhattan and also obtained a degree from Fordham-Lincoln Center. Stevens worked at CBS for 13 years, ultimately attaining the position of Manager of Accounting and Finance. However, the eventually left, this position in order to spend more time with her family. Since leaving CBS, Stevens has worked as a realtor and business teacher.

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