Ruby Bridges – Then and Now
When I came across this brave little girl years ago I was riveted to the spot. What a brave little girl, I thought, but even more brave were her parents. I came across this picture again recently and I wanted to know what became of her. So I sent an email and someone responded to say she was doing fine and I am elated that her bravery did not go in vain.
Ruby Bridges was born in Tylertown, Mississippi on September 8, 1954 at a time when there was deep segregation. At six, she was the first black child to attend an all white elementary school in the South.
To have to be escorted to school by her mother and US Marshals just to get an education, still brings tears to my eyes. I am from Jamaica so I cannot pretend to know what she went through, but it does not take a rocket scientist to know that this could not have been easy for either Ruby or her parents. I would want to also say that this could not have been easy for those US Marshals either.
Bridges’ bravery paved the way for continued Civil Rights action and she’s shared her story with future generations in educational forums.
In 1960 Ruby was one of six African Americans to pass a very difficult test that they had to take to determine if they were fit to attend this all white school. Even though six passed, only Ruby attended the William Frantz Elementary School; which was just five blocks from where she lived. This bold move by here parents and the authorities had disastrous effects for the entire family.
Today Ruby has weathered the storm and stands tall. She stands as a living testimony that all things are possible.
In 1999, Bridges formed the Ruby Bridges Foundation, headquartered in New Orleans. The foundation promotes the values of tolerance, respect, and appreciation of all differences. Through education and inspiration, the foundation seeks to end racism and prejudice.
She joins Anne Frank and Ryan White in the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis because of her contribution to integration in the educational system in America.
Long Live Ruby Bridges!