Did you know that she studied as the only and first black African American child in an all-white school, the William Frantz Elementary School?
Born on September 8, 1954, Ruby Nell Bridges is an American civil rights activist. One of the most prominent figures to have emerged during the desegregation issue at the New Orleans School, Ruby Bridges was the first African American child who worked towards ending racial segregation in the all-white William Frantz Elementary School in Louisiana on November 14, 1960.
Ruby Bridges was part of the Civil Rights Movement and became a Civil Rights icon. She preached to people not to tread on the path that had already been made. Instead, she asked people to embark on a new road filled with conviction, courage, and strength.
After marriage, she changed her name to Mrs. Ruby Bridges Hall. Read on to know more fun facts about Ruby Bridges. Afterward, do check out facts about Beethoven and facts about Machu Picchu.
Important Facts About Ruby Bridges
She was the first black student from the southern United States to receive her schooling in an all-white elementary school. She was born in Tylertown, Mississippi, where she was brought up on a small farm. When she was two years old, Ruby’s parents, Abon and Lucille Bridges, relocated to New Orleans along with her in search of a better living. She was the first child and had four siblings: two younger brothers and two sisters.
Ruby was born in the era of racial segregation. Schools of New Orleans were segregated so white and black students received their schooling separately. Due to this, she went to kindergarten in an all-black school. In a quest for the integration of black and white students, Ruby was part of a test designed to determine the worthiness of black students to join white institutions. As luck would have it, Ruby triumphed with flying colors in the test, after which her parents were informed that she could attend the local white school. Initially, her father, Abon Bridges, was reluctant and didn’t want his daughter to go to a new school that was only for whites as many people of the white community were infuriated with this desegregation taking place in their vicinity and didn’t want any black children in white schools. But Bridges' mother, Lucille, wanted her to accept the offer as it could prove to be a great opportunity for Ruby to receive a superior education and make way for a much better career.
Imagine a six-year-old young girl being recognized as a role model in a whole community across the U.S.; that’s Ruby Bridges. Ever since the tender age of six, Ruby has advocated for civil rights of the black community. In November 1960, Ruby and her mother had to be escorted to Ruby’s class in the elementary school by federal marshals for several days. Ruby shared her frightening experience of the day when she saw a woman holding a black baby doll in a coffin and how she had to spend her first day of school in the principal’s office as infuriated white parents gathered on school premises pulling their children out of their classrooms.
Learn All About Ruby Bridges
At first, like every other black child, Ruby began her first grade in an all-black school. However, despite all opposition, on November 14, 1960, she made history by attending her first class at the all-white William Frantz Elementary School and became the first black child to do so in the southern U.S.
The scene at the school the day Ruby entered was rather comical yet disheartening. White parents pulled their children out of the classroom as they did not want their children to share a classroom with a black child. The social stigma struck the minds of the teachers as well. All teachers refused to teach while a black student was enrolled in the institute, except one, Barbara Henry, the only teacher who was ready to teach Bridges. She taught Bridges for almost a year as the only child of the class.
When compared to the Little Rock Nine, Ruby Bridges was only a single person fighting against the inequalities and is perhaps one of the least known amongst the rights movements.
Fun Facts About Ruby Bridges
If you are looking for an interesting fact about Ruby Bridges, there are several fun facts listed below.
Ruby is still living in New Orleans along with her four sons and her husband, Malcolm Hall. She graduated from a school made free from racial discrimination. Later on, she championed her work of advocating rights of the black community.
In 1999, Bridges became the chairperson of the Ruby Bridges Foundation, which she started to communicate the value of respect, tolerance, and acknowledgment of differences. The Ruby Bridges Foundation enhanced her propaganda by giving the notion that 'racism is a grown-up disease and we must stop using our children to spread it.'
The endeavors of Ruby Bridges at William Frantz Elementary School were put on the silver screen in 1998 by the movie Ruby Bridges. Chaz Monet played the role of the protagonist as young Bridges.
In 2010, Bridges had a reunion at William Frantz Elementary School, marking 50 years of her admission in the institute, where she reunited with the first white child who broke the stereotype and accepted her as a classmate, Pam Foreman Testroet.
In her honor, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, in November 2007, unveiled an exhibition that permanently documented the life of Ruby Bridges alongside personalities like Anne Frank and Ryan White, who had a major impact on American History.
Top 10 Facts About Ruby Bridges
Before Ruby’s family moved to New Orleans from Mississippi in search of better opportunities to live their life, all her family members were sharecroppers.
When Ruby lived in New Orleans along with her family, she and her four other siblings shared a single bed.
Ruby was of an active child. She loved climbing trees and playing rope jumping and softball.
When Ruby saw the crowd of people who had come to protest against her arrival at the all-white school, she thought that the gathering looked like some celebration.
The marshals who escorted Ruby to school said that she was very courageous and did not cry even once. They also said that she moved forward like a brave little soldier.
Ruby’s teacher, Mrs. Barbara Henry, became good friends with her and stayed in touch long after Bridges passed out of school.
Surprisingly, during the protests, Ruby noticed that there were a lot of people from both the black and white communities who were in favor of her studying in an all-white school. People often sent money to help Bridges' family after Bridges' father lost his job. However, the family suffered a lot of hatred because of their black child.
Ruby worked as a travel agent after her graduation from high school. She did the travel agent job for 15 years.
Ruby’s march to school on the first day is considered a brave memory. To commemorate the occasion, an American painter Norman Rockwell displayed her in his painting which is present in the White House Gallery.
President Barack Obama said that it is because of people like Ruby that he had an opportunity to be president in the White House.
The Poem About Ruby Bridges
Carol S. Oaks wrote a Black History Month poem to portray the adventurous life of Ruby Bridges. The name of the poem is 'Ruby Showed the Way'.
The first stanza of the poem states that Ruby was only six years old when people used to hit her with cruelty and spit upon her with hateful thoughts and words. The only reason behind their hate was Ruby’s color.
The poem is like a Civil Rights Movement in itself; it is both passionate and touching at the same time.
The Book About Ruby Bridges
A book was published in 1995 on the life of Ruby Bridges. The book was written by Robert Coles, who was Ruby Bridges’ child psychologist. He used the help of an author who was a Pulitzer Prize winner. The name of the book is 'The Story of Ruby Bridges.' It is a picture book depicting her courageous life. The children's book was published to instill a feeling of bravery in children and to encourage them to work hard.
According to the story, the year is 1960, and Ruby Bridges is a six-year-old kid. She and her family had shifted from their home in Mississippi to New Orleans in order to live a good life. The story is a perfect blend of Robert Coles’ strong narrative and put together with loads of adventure and drama by Pulitzer-winning author George Ford. The courageous Ruby and her story of bravery, strength, and hope endeavors to encourage kids and still hits a strong chord in our hearts, even now, more than 60 years after the incident.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Ruby Bridges, then why not take a look at facts about Pablo Picasso or facts about Donald Trump.
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