Our series of profiles of trailblazing black Bermudians is being done in partnership with the Government TV station CITV, which is airing short profiles of four people each week, as well as giving viewers the opportunity to take part in a quiz to win one of eight plasma TVs. Tune in to CITV daily (seven days a week) at 7am, 11am, 4pm and 7.30pm to hear the trivia questions and log on to www.citv.gov.bm to search for the correct answers. We will profile different people in every edition of the paper throughout February.

Ruth Seaton James: first black person to head up a government dept.

Ruth Edith Mae Seaton James, M.B.E. was the third child of Mr. and Mrs. Dudley Seaton born on May 4, 1926. As a youngster, she attended the Central School. She was a graduate of the Berkeley Institute and pursued a course in Business Administration, in which she obtained honours.
During her early career, she became an assistant teacher at Sandys Secondary School and the Girls' Institute of Arts and Crafts. Ruth Seaton James will be remembered for the contribution she made to the Civil Service. She joined the Registrar General's Office as a clerk in 1951, a post which she held for five years.
After a brief stay in the United States, where she worked as a private secretary to the President of Bethlehem Steel Cooperation, she returned to Bermuda, once again taking up the post in the Registrar General's Office in 1959. She was appointed Assistant Registrar in April 1965. On August 21, 1966, history was made in Bermuda when Mrs. James became the first black woman to head a Government Department, appointed as Registrar General, by Governor Lord Martonmere.
Ruth married Etherbert James and they had two daughters. She was a devoted wife and mother. She developed a remarkable balance of work and family life with the love and support of her husband, himself a self-made business man.
Her busy career required long hours and involved attending many social events, but she found time for her favourite pastimes of knitting, making homemade apple pies, loquat jam, packing picnic baskets for beach trips and enjoying Saturday evening movie time with her family.
The inner strength of Ruth James came from her personal faith. She instilled in her children the importance of integrity, honesty, and the Christian faith.
Her loyalty not only extended to her family and friends, but those with whom she worked. She personally mentored many who looked up to her as a role model and helped them establish themselves in their chosen career paths. She held the office of Registrar General until ill health cut her service short.
Ruth Seaton James became a real Bermudian icon, not just because of her career accomplishments, but because of her inner strength, character and personal faith.
She touched the lives of her family, friends and colleagues in ways that will always be remembered. She died in 1970.
The auditorium at CedarBridge Academy was named in her honour.
Valerie Scott, a devoted wife and mother, distinguished civil servant and a selfless community worker dedicated her life to the service and happiness of other people.

The second of four children of Julio and Rita Alban, she was born on December 10, 1931. Her father, Julio, was Brazilian and her mother, Rita, was from Dominica. Her family lived in Brooklyn, which was the name once used for the area in Pembroke bounded by St. Theresa's Church, Saltus Grammar School, Woodlands Road and Serpentine Road. After primary school, she attended The Berkeley Institute. On leaving Berkeley, she went on to Mr. Jean-Jacques' Commercial School

At the age of 20, she married George Donald Scott, an employee of the Post Office. They had nine children during the period 1953 to 1965: Donald, Charlene, George, Michelle, Sharon, Brian, Duane, Beverly and Charmaine.

In October 1966, Mrs. Scott joined the Registrar General's Department as Assistant Registrar General. She assisted Ruth Seaton James who earlier that same year became the first black person to head a government department. Prior to that, she had worked for several years as a legal secretary for lawyer and parliamentarian E.T. Richards.

She assumed the position of Registrar General on February 23, 1970, replacing Ruth Seaton James after her death. It was a demanding job as her department was responsible for the registration of all births, deaths and marriages, voter registration and as well as performing civil marriages.

She was a devout Roman Catholic and gave considerable time to St. Anthony's Church in Warwick. In 1986 her contribution to the civil service was recognized when she received a Queen's Certificate and Badge of Honour.

Mrs. Scott's health began to fail in the early 1980s. She suffered quietly and it was not until 1985 that it became widely known that she was waging a battle with cancer, which forced her to take retirement in October 1986. She died in 1987.

Valerie Scott's participation in community organizations and the nature of her job brought her into contact with thousands of Bermudians, residents and visitors to Bermuda and she received compliments and commendations for the way she managed her responsibilities.

Editor's note: Photographs and profiles were supplied by Government's Department of Communication and Information, with help from the Bermudian Heritage Association, and edited by Meredith Ebbin.