Who is Ruby Bridges?
Ruby Bridges was six years old when she became the first African-American girl to attend a white Southern elementary school. On November 14, 1960, her mother and US officials escorted her to class for mob violence. Bridges' courageous act was a milestone incivil rights movement, and shared his story with future generations in educational forums.
Ruby Nell Bridges was born on September 8, 1954 in Tylertown, Mississippi. She grew up on her parents' and her grandparents' farm in Mississippi.
When she was four years old, her parents, Abon and Lucille Bridges, moved to New Orleans in hopes of a better life in a bigger city.
His father took a job as a gas station attendant and his mother worked nights to support their growing family. Soon the young Bridges had two younger brothers and a younger sister.
education and facts
The fact that Bridges was born the same year that the Supreme Court made its decisionbrown v Board of EducationThe decision to desegregate the schools is a remarkable coincidence in her initial journey into civil rights activism.
When Bridges was in kindergarten, she was one of many African-American students in New Orleans who were chosen to take a test to determine whether or not she could attend a white-only school. The test is said to have been written to be particularly difficult so that students would have a hard time passing it. The idea was that if all African-American children failed the test, New Orleans schools could remain segregated for a while longer.
Bridges lived five blocks from a white-only school, but attended kindergarten several miles away at a segregated black-only school. Bridges' father objected to her daughter taking the test because he believed there would be trouble if she passed and she attended the all-white school. However, her mother Lucille pushed the issue, believing that Bridges would get a better education at an all-white school. She was eventually able to convince Bridges' father to let her audition.
In 1960, NAACP officials told Bridges's parents that she was one of six African-American students to pass the exam. Bridges would be the only African-American student to attend the nearby William Frantz School and the first black child to attend an all-white elementary school in the South.
Ruby Bridges and Marshals leave William Frantz Elementary School, New Orleans, 1960. They escorted her to and from school as anti-segregation protests continued.
When the first day of school came around in September, Bridges was still at his old school. Throughout the summer and early fall, the Louisiana state legislature found ways to challenge the federal injunction and delay the integration process. After exhausting all delaying tactics, the legislature had to relent and the designated schools would be integrated in November.
Fearing civil unrest, the federal district court judge asked the US government to send federal marshals to New Orleans to protect the children. On the morning of November 14, 1960, federal agents drove Bridges and her mother five blocks to her new school. As they sat in the car, one of the men explained that when they got to the school, two deputies would be walking in front of Bridges and two behind her.
When Bridges and federal marshals arrived at the school, large crowds gathered outside, yelling and throwing objects. Barricades were erected and the police were everywhere.
Bridges, in her innocence, initially thought it was like a Mardi Gras party. Upon entering the school under the protection of federal marshals, she was immediately escorted to the principal's office and spent the entire day there. The chaos outside and the fact that most of the white parents at the school had left their children at home meant that there would be no school that day.
ostracized in elementary school
On the second day, the circumstances were similar to the first, and for a time it seemed that Bridges would not be able to attend classes. Only one teacher, Barbara Henry, agreed to teach Bridges. She was from Boston and was a new teacher at the school. "Mrs. Henry," as Bridges called her as an adult, she welcomed her with open arms.
Bridges was the only student in Henry's class because parents removed their children from Bridges' class or threatened to send them to other schools. For an entire year, Henry and Bridges sat next to each other at two desks and worked on Bridges' classes. Henry loved and supported Bridges, helping her not only with her studies, but also through her ordeal of being ostracized herself.
Bridges' first weeks at the Frantz School were not easy. He was repeatedly confronted with flagrant racism in front of his fellow feds. On her second day of school, a woman threatened to poison her. After that, the federal marshals allowed him to eat only food from her house. Another day, she was "greeted" by a woman who showed her a black doll in a wooden coffin.
Bridges' mother continued to encourage her to be strong and pray when she entered school, which Bridges found reduced the intensity of the insults thrown at her and gave her courage. She spent all day, every day, at Ms. Henry not allowed to go to the cafeteria or go out during breaks to be with the other students at school. When she needed to use the bathroom, federal agents would escort her down the hall.
A few years later, US Marshal Charles Burks, one of his peers, remarked with some pride that Bridges had shown great courage. She never cried or wailed, Burks said, "she just marched off like a little soldier."
Impact on the Bridges family
The abuse was not limited to just Bridges; His family also suffered. His father lost his job at a gas station and his grandparents were evicted from the land they had farmed for more than 25 years. The grocery store where the family shopped prevented them from entering. However, many other members of the community, both black and white, began to show their support in various ways. Gradually, many families began to send their children back to school, and the protests and riots seemed to subside as the year progressed.
A neighbor gave Bridges' father a job, while others volunteered to care for the four children while protectors guarded the home and escorted federal inspectors to the school.
sign of stress
After winter break, Bridges began to show signs of stress. He had nightmares and would wake up his mother in the middle of the night for comfort. For a while, she stopped having lunch in the classroom, which she used to do alone. Wanting to be with the other students, she did not eat the sandwiches her mother had made for her, but instead hid them in a pantry in the classroom.
Soon, a janitor saw the rats and cockroaches that had found the sandwiches. The incident caused Mrs. Henry to have lunch with Bridges in the classroom. Bridges began dating child psychologist Dr. Robert Coles, who volunteered for counseling during her first year at the Frantz School. He was very worried about how such a young girl would handle the pressure. He saw Bridges once a week at school or at her house.
During these sessions, I would just let her talk about what she was experiencing. Sometimes his wife would also come, and like Dr. Coles, she was very fond of Bridges. Coles later wrote a series of articles foratlantic monthand finally a series of books about how children cope with change, including a children's book about Bridges' experiences.
overcome the obstacles
Towards the end of the first year things began to calm down. Some white children from Bridges' classes went back to school. From time to time Bridges had occasion to visit him. From his own memories of him many years later, Bridges was not as aware of the level of racism created by his attendance at the school. But when another boy rejected Bridges's friendship because of his race, he slowly began to understand.
In Bridge's second year at the Frantz School everything seemed to have changed. Mrs. Henry's contract was not renewed, so she and her husband returned to Boston. There were also no more federal marshals; Bridges went to school alone every day. There were other students in her second grade and the school was back to full enrollment. Nobody talked about last year. It seemed that everyone wanted to put the experience behind them.
Bridges finished elementary school and graduated from Francis T. Nicholls Integrated High School in New Orleans. He later studied Travel and Tourism at the Kansas City Business School and worked for American Express as a global travel agency.
husband and sons
In 1984, Bridges married Malcolm Hall in New Orleans. She later became a full-time mother to her four children.
Norman Rockwell painting
1963 painternorman rockwellrecreated Bridge's monumental first day of school in the painting The Problem We All Live With. The image of this black girl being escorted to school by four tall white men appeared on the cover ofVerRevised January 14, 1964.
The Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts now has the painting as part of its permanent collection. In 2011, at the president's request, the museum loaned the work for four months to display it in the West Wing of the White House.barack obama.
book and movie
"The Story of the Ruby Bridges"
In 1995, Robert Coles, Bridges' child psychologist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, publishedstory Of The Ruby Bridges,an illustrated children's book that tells his courageous story.
Soon after, Barbara Henry, her first-year teacher at the Frantz School, contacted Bridges and they hooked up.o Oprah Winfrey show.
Ruby Bridges is a Disney television movie, written by Toni Ann Johnson, about Bridges' experiences as the first black child to attend an all-white Southern elementary school.
The two-hour film, shot entirely in Wilmington, North Carolina, first aired on January 18, 1998, and was hosted bypresidente bill clintonand Disney CEO Michael Eisner in the Cabinet Room of the White House.
Ruby Bridges Foundation
In 1999, Bridges founded the New Orleans-based Ruby Bridges Foundation. Bridges was inspired after the murder of her younger brother, Malcolm Bridges, on a drug spree in 1993, which led her back to her old elementary school.
For a time, Bridges cared for Malcolm's four children, all of whom attended William Frantz School. She soon began volunteering there three days a week and soon became a liaison between her parents and the community.
With Bridges' experience as a school liaison and her reconnection with influential people from her past, she began to see the need to bring parents back to schools to take a more active role in their children's education.
Bridges established his foundation to promote the values of tolerance, respect, and appreciation for difference. Through education and inspiration, the foundation seeks to end racism and prejudice. As the motto says: "Racism is an adult disease and we must stop using our children to spread it."
In 2007, the Children's Museum of Indianapolis opened a new exhibit documenting Bridges' life, along with the life ofAna Franky Ryan Branco.
- Year of birth: 1954
- Date of birth: September 8, 1954
- State of birth: Mississippi
- Heimatstadt: Tylertown
- Country of birth: United States
- Male gender
- Best Known For: Ruby Bridges was the first African-American girl to attend an all-white public elementary school in the South. She later became a civil rights activist.
- The industry
- civil rights
- education and academy
- Signo zodiacal: Virgo
- Wilhelm Franz Elementary School
- Interesting data
- In 1960, Ruby Bridges became the first African-American girl to attend an all-white Southern elementary school.
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- Article Title: Biography of Ruby Bridges
- Author: Biography.com Editor
- Website name: The Biography.com website
- URL: https://www.biography.com/activists/ruby-bridges
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- Publisher: A&E; television channel
- Last updated: February 23, 2021
- Original Release Date: April 2, 2014
- My message really is that racism has no place in the hearts and minds of our children.
- I've been told my ideas are great. Yes they are. But so did the ideas that led me between the rowdy crowd and the steps of William Frantz Elementary School more than 50 years ago.
- In order to create truly lasting positive change - Dr. King leads the way: we must think big and act big.
- That first morning I remember Mom saying to me as I was putting on my new clothes, 'Well, I want you to behave yourself today, Ruby, and not be afraid. There may be many people outside of this new school, but I will be with you.
- I wish there were enough delegates who could stand with any child when they face hate and racism today and support and encourage them like these federal delegates did for me.
- My mother told me, 'Ruby, when I'm not with you and you're scared, always say your prayers.'
- There were a lot of people outside yelling and yelling and the police. But I thought it was Mardi Gras, you know, I didn't know it was all my fault.
- Racism is something that we adults keep alive. We pass it on to our children. None of our children come into this world knowing nothing about not liking each other.
- I think history should be taught in another way. History definitely needs to be taught as it happened: good, bad, or ugly. history is sacred. For me, history is base and truth.
- [My teacher, Mrs. Henry] taught me what Dr. King tried to teach all of us. We should never judge a person by the color of their skin, but rather by their character. That was the lesson I learned at age 6.