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  1. Ruby Bridges - Wikipedia › wiki › Ruby_Bridges

    Ruby Nell Bridges Hall (born September 8, 1954) is an American civil rights activist. She was the first African-American child to desegregate the all-white William Frantz Elementary School in Louisiana during the New Orleans school desegregation crisis on November 14, 1960.

  2. Ruby Bridges | National Women's History Museum › biographies › ruby-bridges

    At the tender age of six, Ruby Bridges advanced the cause of civil rights in November 1960 when she became the first African American student to integrate an elementary school in the South. Born on September 8, 1954, Bridges was the oldest of five children for Lucille and Abon Bridges, farmers in Tylertown, Mississippi.

  3. In 1960, when Ruby Bridges was only six years old, she became one of the first black children to integrate New Orleans’ all white public school system. Greeted by an angry mob and escorted by federal marshals, Ruby bravely crossed the threshold of this school and into history single-handedly initiating the desegregation of New Orleans ...

  4. Ruby Bridges (U.S. National Park Service) - NPS › people › rubybridges

    Jul 28, 2020 · Ruby Nell Bridges Hall is an American Hero. She was the first African American child to desegregate William Frantz Elementary School. At six years old, Ruby's bravery helped pave the way for Civil Rights action in the American South. Ruby was born on September 8, 1954 to Abon and Lucille Bridges in Tylertown, Mississippi.

  5. Ruby Bridges - Movie, Quotes & Book - Biography › activist › ruby-bridges

    Feb 23, 2021 · Ruby Nell Bridges was born on September 8, 1954, in Tylertown, Mississippi. She grew up on the farm her parents and grandparents sharecropped in Mississippi. When she was four years old, her...

  6. Nov 12, 2020 · NEW ORLEANS — Lucille Bridges, the mother of civil rights activist Ruby Bridges, who walked with her then-6-year-old daughter past crowds screaming racist slurs as she became the first Black...

    • 4 min
    • The Associated Press
  7. Nov 14, 2020 · Ruby Nell Bridges, 6, was the first African American child to attend William Franz Elementary School in New Orleans after federal courts ordered the desegregation of public schools. (CNN) Sixty...

  8. Biography of Ruby Bridges: Civil Rights Movement Hero › ruby-bridges-biography-4152073
    • Early Life
    • School Desegregation
    • Integrating William Frantz Elementary
    • Continuing Challenges
    • Adult Years
    • Speaking Engagements
    • Additional References

    Ruby Nell Bridges was born on Sept. 8, 1954 in a cabin in Tylertown, Mississippi. Her mother, Lucille Bridges, was the daughter of sharecroppers and had little education because she worked in the fields. Sharecropping, a system of agriculture instituted in the American South during the period of Reconstruction after the Civil War, perpetuated racial inequality. Under this system, a landlord—often the former White enslaver of Black people—would allow tenants, often formerly enslaved people, to work the land in exchange for a share of the crop. But restrictive laws and practices would leave tenants in debt and tied to the land and landlord, just as much as they had been when they were bound to the plantation and the enslaver. Lucille sharecropped with her husband, Abon Bridges, and her father-in-law until the family moved to New Orleans. In New Orleans, Lucille worked nights at various jobs so she could take care of her family during the day while Abon worked as a gas station attendant.

    In 1954, just four months before Bridges was born, the Supreme Court ruled that legally mandated segregation in public schools violated the 14th Amendment, making it unconstitutional. But the landmark Court decision, Brown v. Board of Education, didn’t lead to immediate change. Schools in the mostly Southern states where segregation was enforced by law often resisted integration, and New Orleans was no different. Bridges had attended an all-Black school for kindergarten, but as the next school year began, New Orleans' all-White schools were required to enroll Black students—this was six years after the Brown decision. Bridges was one of six Black girls in kindergarten who were chosen to be the first such students. The children had been given both educational and psychological tests to ensure they could succeed, since many White people thought Black people were less intelligent. Her family was not sure they wanted their daughter to be subjected to the backlash that would occur upon B...

    On that November morning in 1960, Bridges was the only Black child assigned to the William Frantz Elementary School. The first day, a crowd shouting angrily surrounded the school. Bridges and her mother entered the building with the help of four federal marshals and spent the day sitting in the principal’s office. By the second day, all the White families with children in the first-grade class had withdrawn them from school. In addition, the first-grade teacher had opted to resign rather than teach a Black child. An educator named Barbara Henry was called to take over the class. Although she did not know it would be integrated, Henry supported that arrangement and taught Bridges as a class of one for the rest of the year. Henry did not allow Bridges to play on the playground for fear for her safety. She also forbade Bridges from eating in the cafeteria due to concerns that someone might poison the first grader. In essence, Bridges was segregated—even if it was for her own safety—fro...

    Bridges' entire family faced reprisals because of her integration efforts. Her father was fired after White patrons of the gas station where he worked threatened to take their business elsewhere. Abon Bridges would mostly remain jobless for five years. In addition to his struggles, Bridges' paternal grandparents were forced off their farm. Bridges' parents divorced when she was 12. The Black community stepped in to support the Bridges family, finding a new job for Abon and babysitters for Bridges' four younger siblings. During this tumultuous time, Bridges found a supportive counselor in child psychologist Robert Coles. He had seen the news coverage about her and admired the first-grader's courage, so he arranged to include her in a study of Black children who had desegregated public schools. Coles became a long-term counselor, mentor, and friend. Her story was included in his 1964 classic "Children of Crises: A Study of Courage and Fear" and his 1986 book "The Moral Life of Children."

    Bridges graduated from an integrated high school and went to work as a travel agent. She married Malcolm Hall, and the couple had four sons. When her youngest brother was killed in a 1993 shooting, Bridges took care of his four girls as well. By that time, the neighborhood around William Frantz Elementary had become populated by mostly Black residents. Due to White flight—the movement of White people from areas growing more ethnically diverse to suburbs often populated by White residents—the once integrated school had become segregated again, attended largely by low-income Black students. Because her nieces attended William Frantz, Bridges returned as a volunteer. She then founded the Ruby Bridges Foundation. The foundation "promotes and encourages the values of tolerance, respect, and appreciation of all differences," according to the group's website.1 Its mission is to "change society through the education and inspiration of children." Institutionalized racism leads to the econo...

    Bridges has not sat quietly in the years since her famed walk to integrate the New Orleans school. She currently has her own website and speaks at schools and various events. For example, Bridges spoke at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in early 2020 during Martin Luther King Jr.week. She also spoke at a school district in Houston in 2018, where she told students: Bridges' talks are still vital today because over 60 years after Brown, public and private schools in the United States are still de facto segregated. Richard Rothstein, a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit that seeks to broaden the discussion about economic policy to include the interests of low- and middle-income workers, said: Bridges laments the current situation, saying that "schools are reverting” to being segregated along racial lines. As a recent New York Times article noted: Despite this, Bridges sees hope for a better, more equal and just future, saying that a more integrated soci...

    "Civil Rights Icon Ruby Bridges Speaks to Spring ISD Students About Racism, Tolerance and Change."
    “Civil Rights Icon Ruby Bridges To Speak During MLK Week.” 104-1 The Blaze, 15 Jan. 2020.
    “President Obama Meets Civil Rights Icon Ruby Bridges.” National Archives and Records Administration, 15 July 2011.
    Ruby Bridges: Civil Rights Icon, Activist, Author, Speaker.”
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