Black history month day 21: desegregation poster child Ruby Bridges.
Ruby Nell Bridges Hall was born September 8, 1954 in Tylertown, Mississippi. She is best known for being the first black child to desegregate the all-white William Frantz Elementary School in Louisiana during the New Orleans school desegregation crisis in 1960.
The Bridges family moved to Mississippi when Ruby was four. When she was six, her parents responded to a proposal from the NAACP to participate in the integration of the New Orleans school system, despite hesitation from her father.
Bridges was one of six black children in New Orleans to pass the test that determined whether they could go to the all-white school, William Frantz Elementary. Two of the six decided to stay at their old school, and the other three were transferred to another district to integrate a different school, so Bridges went to William Frantz by herself. She and her mother had to be escorted to school by four federal marshals during her first year. One of the marshals later remarked: “She showed a lot of courage. She never cried. She didn’t whimper. She just marched along like a little soldier, and we’re all very very proud of her.”
Though Bridges showed remarkable bravery for a six-year-old, situation was certainly not without its challenges. The marshals would only allow her to eat food brought from her home due to one woman’s repeated threats to poison her. Another woman stuck a black baby doll in a wooden coffin and held outside the school in protest. Bridges said later that that frightened her more than any of the things they shouted. She began the practice of praying while she walked, which helped her block out the nasty comments, and she also saw a child psychiatrist named Robert Coles who helped her cope. Only one teacher, Barbara Henry, agreed to teach Ruby and did so for over a year, teaching as though she was teaching the whole class.
Bridges still lives in New Orleans with her husband, Malcolm Hall, and their four sons. She is now chair of the Ruby Bridges Foundation, formed in 1999 to promote “the values of tolerance, respect, and appreciation of all differences”. In describing the mission of her foundation, Bridges stated: “racism is a grown-up disease and we must stop using our children to spread it.”
found @ 26 likes ON 2018-06-05 18:55:09 BY ME.ME