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Ruth Coker Burks

Biography

Ruth Coker Burks

Ruth Coker Burks was a young single mom in Hot Springs, Arkansas who cared for people with AIDS when no one else would in the 1980s and 1990s. With no medical background, Ruth single-handedly created a network of care, and saw to the final resting places of roughly a thousand men abandoned by families and neglected by medical professionals. For 30 years, Ruth has been an advocate for the LGBTQ community. She currently resides in Northwest Arkansas.

Ruth Coker Burks

Books by Ruth Coker Burks

by Ruth Coker Burks - Gay & Lesbian, History, Memoir, Nonfiction

In 1986, 26-year old Ruth visits a friend at the hospital when she notices that the door to one of the hospital rooms is painted red and all of the nurses are reluctant to enter. Out of impulse, Ruth herself enters the quarantined space and immediately begins to care for the young man in the last moments of his life. Word spreads in the community that Ruth is the only person willing to help these young men afflicted by AIDS, and is called upon to nurse them. As she forges deep friendships with the men she helps, she works tirelessly for them. This deeply moving and elegiac memoir honors the extraordinary life of Ruth Coker Burks and the beloved men who fought valiantly for their lives with AIDS during a most hostile and misinformed time in America.