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Laughlin, Ruth, 1954-1986



  • Existence: 1954 - 1986


Ruth Laughlin, an advocate for social justice, was born on July 25, 1954, in Iowa City, Iowa. Laughlin attended public elementary schools and attended high school at the Scattergood Friends School in West Branch, Iowa, from which she graduated in 1972. As a young adult, Laughlin worked as an apple-picker with the Young Friends of North America and was a member of Amnesty International. Laughlin moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the fall of 1978. In the summer of 1983 Laughlin married Ben Kazina, an African immigrant. Kazina returned to Africa and was killed in a café bombing approximately three years after their marriage.

Laughlin completed her undergraduate education in 1984 by earning a B.A. summa cum laude in urban studies from Temple University. While in Philadelphia, Laughlin also devoted her time and intellect to many advocacy projects: she lived in cooperative housing sponsored by the Movement for a New Society (MNS), contributed to and helped produce the COMMUNITY activist newsletter, and was employed by the Quaker publication Friends Journal. Laughlin also participated in organizations such as the Coalition on the Utility Crisis and the Workers' Rights Law Project. Laughlin crafted a diverse advocacy that included resistance to class-, gender-, and race-based oppressions and participation in anti-nuclear organizations and the peace movement. Ruth Laughlin was raped and murdered in her apartment in Philadelphia on May 29, 1986.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Ruth Laughlin papers

Identifier: IWA0185

Social activist and writer.

Dates: 1956-1997