(1906 – 1974)
Robert Rufus Bell was born on April 29, 1906, in Marianna, Florida, to the late Robert and Laura Bell. He received a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree in agricultural education from Tuskegee Institute.
After graduation from college in 1934, he was employed as a farm management specialist and movable school agent by the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service. The movable school was started by Dr. Booker T. Washington, who saw the need for adult Negro education and that the only solution was to take the school to the farms. The movable school had a team of four persons. Robert R. Bell was on this team for ten years. An editor of a local newspaper said Robert Bell was a serious, sturdy, and intelligent man, and when he talked about the movable school, his eyes flushed. “If we want to do any good,” he related, “we must go right to them.”
The movable school was discontinued in 1945, after which Robert was employed as a farm shop instructor at Tuskegee Institute. He was the first black in Alabama to become a registered surveyor.
He actively participated in community-related affairs, was a member of the Board of Directors of Tuskegee Federal Savings and Loan Association, and a member of the City of Tuskegee Planning Commission. He was chairman of the Board of Trustees, Church Treasurer, and an active member of the Board of Deacons of the Greater Saint Mark Missionary Baptist Church. He was survived by his wife Mrs. Helen M. Bell.
To show honor to the life’s work of Robert Rufus Bell, we have the privilege of inscribing his name on the dedicatory plaque of the Extension Memorial Chapel.
Chapel Plaque Inscription Number: 313