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  • Lolita Avila

UN:Black History Facts:Ruby Bridges

At the tender age of six years, old Ruby Bridges was a resilient and brave young activist. After the revolutionary Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka case ruled that the term precedent “separate-but-equal” was unconstitutional, it completely changed the American education system and set the precedent that separate does not mean equal! Ruby Bridges was the first African American to integrate a public elementary school in the South. Every day as she walked to through the school’s front entrance, there were crowds of angry white supremacists who screamed and taunted her. Young Ruby had to be escorted into the school by armed federal marshalls. Ruby Bridges will celebrate her 67th birthday on September 8, which shows you that the Civil Rights movement was not long ago.

Here are some interesting facts about Ruby Bridges:

  • She attended Will William Frantz Elementary School, which was previously an all-white school.

  • Ruby’s father Abon Bridges was initially afraid to send his daughter to William Frantz school due to the overwhelming distaste for integration.

  • States in the South were resistant to the Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka ruling and created barriers to keep Black children out of their schools. Ruby’s school district created exams for black children to see if they were on the same intellectual level as their white counterparts, and Ruby passed with flying colors. However, out of the five African American children who passed, she was the only one who decided to attend the school despite the dangers.

  • Barbara Henry, a white teacher, was the only staff member willing to teach Ruby, and she was the only student in her class for an entire year.

  • Ruby Bridges ate lunch alone most days as many white parents permanently withdrew their children from the school, and the remaining students were encouraged to stay away from her.

  • Due to their forward-thinking, the Bridges family became a community target and her many grocery stores would not sell food to her parents.

  • After Ruby’s pivotal year, more Black students enrolled in the school, and years later Ruby’s four nieces attended the same school.

Ruby's Prayer;

Please God, try to forgive these people.

Because even if they say those bad things,

They don't know what they're doing.

So You could forgive them,

Just like You did those folks a long time ago

When they said terrible things about You.

Sources:"The Story of Ruby Bridges." By: Robert Coles