Tag Archives: Ruby Bridges

Ruby Bridges Through Her Eyes

The Moral Universe

Having grown up in the area where Norman Rockwell painted some of his most famous works, I remember not only the actual photographs of the little girl, but also the iconic painting of the girl in the white dress flanked by four federal marshals.

The white dress, white socks and shoes emphasize the darkness of her skin. On the wall behind her is a racial epithet. Smashed tomatoes lie at the foot of the wall. You don’t see the marshals’ heads, but their fists are clenched as if ready for battle.

Friday I had the privilege of hearing the woman who grew out of that little girl speak. Ruby Bridges’ name is writ large in the history of civil rights. As she came onto the stage at Smith College, the crowd jumped to its feet with thunderous applause.

ruby nowMs. Bridges is a reluctant speaker. She never meant to spend the…

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Ruby Bridges

Civil Rights Movement

U.S. Marshals escorting Ruby from school. U.S. Marshals escorting Ruby from school.

Ruby Bridges is most widely known to  the first African American to attend an all white  elementary school. She was ironically born on September 8, 1954 – the same year the Supreme Court’s decision Brown vs. Board of Education, desegregated schools. African American children were forced to take  an especially harder test in order to enter these white schools. In 1960, Ruby found out that she was one of the only six African American students to pass the test and able to attend the William Frantz School. Ruby’s presence caused many white parents to remove their children from school in disgust, and there were riots almost every day of Ruby’s attendance there.

Despite the blatant racism she faced each day, people commented that Ruby never cried or whimpered; Charles Burks, one of her escorts, said, “she just marched along like a little soldier”. Her…

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