what happened to loretta mccollum
On a Sunday morning, August 3, 1952, Ruby McCollum, who was the richest African-American woman in Suwannee County and had grown up in Marion County, walked into the office of sainted white physician Dr. Clifford Leroy Adams and shot him four times with a revolver.
Rumors resounded. Was Ruby, as the story goes, arguing over an unpaid medical bill? Was Ruby his lover? Or was it something more sinister. There were whispers and accusations that the good doctor may have raped Ruby.Was Ruby’s child, Loretta, his daughter?
Sam McCollum, Jr., the son of Ruby and her husband, who resided in his childhood home until his death in December 2014, declined to meet with the film crew, not wanting to talk about his mother. Loretta McCollum, the alleged illegitimate child of Dr. Adams and Ruby, lives in New Jersey and also declined to speak with them. In fact, no one in the family wanted to open up at first.
What is known is that on August 3, 1952, Ruby walked into Dr. Adams’ office, shot him four times with a revolver, got back into her car and drove her children home. The reason, public record stated, was that they argued over an unpaid medical bill, but Ruby said in multiple notes and letters that she shot him to escape because he wouldn’t agree to leave her alone, that Dr. Adams forced himself on her over a period of years and that Loretta was his child.
“We don’t know exactly what [the truth] was,” Hilary says, “but we explore many different angles in the film.”
Whether due to the electroshock therapy or something else that she experienced while in the hospital in Chattahoochee, when Ruby was released she could no longer recall what happened. She couldn’t even remember that Loretta was Dr. Adams’ child. And the truth was silenced again.
Although no one will ever find out what really happened between Ruby and Dr. Adams, Ruby was able to spend the remainder of her life free in New Horizons Rehabilitation Center in Ocala until her death in 1992.