Ruth Walker is the mother of Addy Walker. Addy refers to her as "Momma."


Momma seems cautious at times, but practical. She thinks hard before acting but takes action when she needs to or when she feels she must do so. She does not speak without thinking and keeps her feelings on the inside many times (which may be a byproduct of growing up enslaved). She gives Addy advice as she grows up, many times about how to deal with a world where blacks are not at an equal position to whites.

Momma is a skilled seamstress and does very fine work; it is partially because of this skill that she believed Master Stevens would not break up her family. She is also an accomplished cook and smart; while initially illiterate, she is quickly able to pick up some basic reading and writing from Addy's teaching. She is also a hard worker, many times seeking to complete work over any leisure time for herself.

She is a devoted mother and wife. She encourages Addy to do her best and improve in all ways. She wants her children to grow up in a world better than what she had.

Momma does not make much at her job; Mrs. Ford starts her at a dollar a week, but by the time of High Hopes for Addy the ten-dollar yearly fee for the Institute for Colored Youth is still more than she makes in two months of work.

In The Books

Meet Addy: An American Girl

Momma was the seamstress on the Stevens plantation. At the beginning, she was much more reluctant about running away from the plantation than Poppa, believing that the war will end soon and free them. She didn't think the family should leave, citing various reasons such as the fact that they never traveled far from the plantation and they only have hearsay to go on. When Sam and Poppa are sold, Momma decided that she and Addy could not wait any longer and they must run away. She was quite heartbroken to leave Esther behind with Auntie Lula and Uncle Solomon, but she realized that they couldn't carry a baby with them.

The first day after running away, Momma gave Addy a cowrie shell necklace that belonged to her great grandmother, Aduke, who brought it with her from Africa. That night, they must cross a river to continue. As they are crossing, Momma is pulled away by the current and Addy saves her from drowning. In the process of this, Momma loses her kerchief.

Momma was reluctant to go knock on Miss Caroline's door, unsure if this is the right house. Miss Caroline gives her a brown dress to wear to Philadelphia.

Addy Learns a Lesson: A School Story

Momma is hired by Mrs. Ford to work as a seamstress.

Addy teaches Momma to read by using the dough for cookies to spell out their names.

She made Addy's first "fancy city girl" outfit, Addy's School Suit, for the spelling bee.

Addy's Surprise: A Christmas Story

Momma was the one working on a Christmas dress for Isabella Howell. Momma holds her tongue as Mrs. Howell proceeds to complain about the quality of her work. Mrs. Ford stands up for her. The dress later becomes Addy's Christmas Dress.

Happy Birthday, Addy!: A Springtime Story

Momma works to make Addy a new outfit for her birthday, once she's decided the day.

Addy Saves The Day: A Summer Story

She, Poppa, and Addy all work on the garden to help bring Sam and Esther home. She also disapproves of Addy's feud with Harriet Davis and asks Addy to try and patch things up with her.

Changes for Addy: A Winter Story

Momma works on Addy's dress she wears to the New Year's Church service.

Momma is overjoyed that Addy brought Auntie Lula and Esther home. She is somewhat upset that Esther does not recognize her.

Addy Studies Freedom

Momma had planned to make neckbones for the celebration at church for Lincoln, but this does not come to pass with his assassination.

Momma is upset by the assassination of President Lincoln. When Addy becomes upset, she sends her to their room and says that Addy is upset by "grown-folk" conversation. She does not get to see President Lincoln lying in state as she catches a cold and feels poorly.

Addy's Wedding Quilt

Momma and Poppa have a second wedding in a church to formalize their marriage, as their first wedding was held on the plantation twenty years earlier despite laws banning enslaved people from getting married.

Addy's Little Brother

Addy's Summer Place

Momma takes Addy and Esther on the train to Cape Island. She puts Addy's hair in curls for the train ride, using paper rollers, lard, and curling wax. She uses the month "June-vember" as an example of time, and assures Addy it is a month and she'll understand when she's older. Momma is reluctant to go to the Banekker House as she feels there is work to do before supper, but decides they can take a rest before going to the campsite.

She comforts Addy after her encounter with the white girl and explains that since Addy is getting older, she will have to learn her place in society, beneath whites. She tells about her her childhood of playing with the white children and how they played as equals when younger, but that as she got older she had to accept that her place was beneath them as a enslaved person and that, while slavery is over, whites and blacks keep to their own after a certain age--one that Addy has reached.

When Addy ruins her hair swimming, Momma says that Addy isn't quite ready to be a young lady.

High Hopes for Addy

Momma lectures Addy for yelling at her little sister as she wrecks her things. She tells Addy that Esther messes with her things because she only wants to be like her.

When Addy hides her recommendation letter in shame, Esther digs it out of Addy's school bag and gives it to Momma, which leads to the family learning about Addy's recommendation. Momma is very proud that Addy has been recommended for the school.

Shadows on Society Hill

A New Beginning: My Journey with Addy

In The Play

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