Ruby Bridges

Only available on StudyMode
  • Topic: Ruby Bridges, New Orleans, Ryan White
  • Pages : 6 (2345 words )
  • Download(s) : 180
  • Published : March 15, 2013
Open Document
Text Preview
Autumn Van Landingham
Intro. To Sociology 201
J. Russell Willis, PH.D
MWF 8:00am – 8:50am
Black History Assignment
Ruby Bridges

Born on September 8, 1954, in Tylertown, Mississippi, Ruby Bridges was 6 when she became the first African-American child to integrate a white Southern elementary school, having to be escorted to class by her mother and U.S. marshals due to violent mobs. Bridges’ bravery paved the way for continued Civil Rights action and she’s shared her story with future generations in educational forums. Ruby Nell Bridges was born on September 8, 1954, in Tylertown, Mississippi, and grew up on the farm her parents and grandparents sharecropped in Mississippi. When she was 4 years old, her parents, Abon and Lucille Bridges, moved to New Orleans, hoping for a better life in a bigger city. Her father got a job as a gas station attendant and her mother took night jobs to help support their growing family. Soon, young Ruby had two younger brothers and a younger sister. The fact that Ruby Bridges was born the same year that the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision desegregated the schools is a notable coincidence to her early journey into civil rights activism. When Ruby was in kindergarten, she was one of many African-American students in New Orleans who were chosen to take a test determining whether or not she could attend a white school. It is said the test was written to be especially difficult so that students would have a hard time passing. The idea was if all the African-American children failed the test, New Orleans schools might be able to stay segregated for a while longer. She lived a mere five blocks from an all-white school, but attended kindergarten several miles away in an all-black segregated school Her father was averse to his daughter taking the test, believing that if she passed and was allowed to go to the white school, there would be trouble. Her mother, Lucille, however, pressed the issue, believing that Ruby would get a better education at a white school. She was eventually able to convince Ruby's father to let her take the test. In 1960, Ruby Bridges’ parents were informed by officials from the NAACP that she was one of only six other African-American students to pass the test. Ruby would be the only African-American student to attend the William Frantz School, near her home. When the first day of school rolled around in September, Ruby was still at her old school. All through the summer and early fall, the Louisiana state legislature had found ways to fight the federal court order and slow the integration process. After exhausting all stalling tactics, the legislature had to relent, and the designated schools were to be integrated in November. Fearing there might be some civil disturbances, the federal district court judge requested the U.S. government send federal marshals to New Orleans to protect the children. On the morning of November 14, 1960, federal marshals drove Ruby and her mother the five blocks to her new school. While in the car, one of the men explained that when they arrived at the school, two marshals would walk in front of Ruby and two would be behind her. When Ruby and the federal marshals arrived at the school, large crowds of people were gathered in front yelling and throwing objects. There were barricades set up, and policemen were everywhere. Ruby, in her innocence, first believed it was like a Mardi Gras celebration. When she entered the school under the protection of the federal marshals, she was immediately escorted to the principal's office and spent the entire day there. The chaos outside, and the fact that nearly all the white parents at the school had kept their children home, meant classes weren't going to be held. On her second day, the circumstances were much the same as the first, and for a while it looked like Ruby Bridges wouldn't be able to attend class. Only one teacher, Barbara Henry, agreed to teach Ruby. She was from Boston and a...
tracking img