10 Facts About Ruby Bridges (2024)

It may not seem like a big deal to go to school. Millions of kids in America do it every day. However, in 1960, one young girl’s trip to school became a historic moment in American history. Her name was Ruby Bridges.

Ruby was one of the first African American children to attend a previously white-only elementary school in Louisiana. Many southern restaurants, schools, businesses and other parts of the community were segregated at that time. So when Ruby, at the age of six, walked into school that day, she did so in the face of much opposition. In fact, her mom and U.S. marshals had to escort her past the shouts and threats from people who did not want her attending.

Ruby Bridges became another example of the power children have to stand up for what is right and help bring about change that makes our world a better place. In the decades since she first stepped into that New Orleans school, Ruby has become a civil rights icon and continued her work to create a more open and equal society. It all began when she was just a young girl trying to get an education.

Here are 10 facts about that ordinary little girl who rose to the challenge when the world needed her extraordinary courage.

  1. Ruby’s parents and grandparents were sharecroppers in Mississippi before her family moved to New Orleans in search of better opportunity.
  2. In New Orleans, Ruby shared a bedroom with her younger sister and two younger brothers.
  3. Ruby enjoyed playing jump rope, softball and climbing trees when she was a child.
  4. When Ruby arrived at the all-white school the crowds of people there to protest her the commotion made her think it was Mardis Gras. Mardis Gras is a loud celebration that takes place in New Orleans every year.
  5. One of the marshals who escorted Ruby into school that day said later, "She showed a lot of courage. She never cried. She didn't whimper. She just marched along like a little soldier, and we're all very very proud of her."
  6. Ruby really liked her teacher Mrs. Henry. They became good friends during that first year at the newly integrated school.
  7. Many people, both black and white, supported Ruby and her family. After her father lost his job due to backlash against Ruby, people sent in money to help the family.
  8. After graduating high school, Ruby worked as a travel agent for fifteen years.
  9. Her walk into the school that day was commemorated by American painter Norman Rockwell in his work titled: “The Problem We All Live With” which was even displayed at The White House art gallery.
  10. On July 15, 2011, Ruby met President Barack Obama at the White House. While viewing the Norman Rockwell painting, he told her, "I think it's fair to say that if it hadn't been for you guys, I might not be here and we wouldn't be looking at this together.”

Learn more about Ruby and her impact on the world when you visit The Power of Children® gallery at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

10 Facts About Ruby Bridges (2024)


What is Ruby Bridges' fav food? ›

For dinner, they ate New Orleans or Southern food like red beans and rice. Sometimes, they had fried catfish or shrimp for dinner. Ruby's favorite desserts were banana pudding and sweet potato pie.

What is Ruby Bridges' favorite color? ›

The museum provides virtual museum tours and programs. Learn more about Ruby Bridges and her work by visiting the Ruby Bridges Foundation. Wear purple! It's Ruby's favorite color.

What was Ruby Bridges' real name? ›

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.

Did Ruby Bridges go to school alone? ›

Bridges says she sees her 6-year-old self enduring a lonely and confusing year in the children's letters. After walking past mobs of protesters, Bridges attended classes alone — and did so for the full year. Some white families permanently withdrew their children from the school because Bridges was a student there.

Why did Ruby Bridges stop eating? ›

She suffered threats to her life through these months. At one point, Ruby stopped eating the lunches her mother sent with her to school, facing threats by protesters that her food would be poisoned.

What did Ruby Bridges want? ›

A lifelong activist for racial equality, in 1999, Ruby established The Ruby Bridges Foundation to promote tolerance and create change through education.

What is Ruby Bridges' favorite color in 2024? ›

Woodson Book Award for writing about her experience. Despite unfavorable weather forecasts, schools remained steadfast in holding their event with thousands of students marching down the streets waving purple flags–Ruby's favorite color.

What were Ruby Bridges' hobbies? ›

Ruby enjoyed playing jump rope, softball and climbing trees when she was a child. When Ruby arrived at the all-white school the crowds of people there to protest her the commotion made her think it was Mardis Gras. Mardis Gras is a loud celebration that takes place in New Orleans every year.

What is Ruby Bridges 4 sons name? ›

Answer and Explanation:

Following her marriage to Malcolm Hall, Ruby Bridges had four sons. Her sons are named Sean Hall, Christopher Hall, and Craig Hall, as well as a fourth, publicly unnamed son. Bridges son Craig Hall was killed in a street shooting in New Orleans in 2005.

What happened to Ruby Bridges when she was 4? ›

When she was four years old, her family moved to New Orleans. Two years later a test was given to the city's African American schoolchildren to determine which students could enter all-white schools. Bridges passed the test and was selected for enrollment at the city's William Frantz Elementary School.

Where is Ruby Bridges now? ›

In 1998, her story was recreated in the Disney film, Ruby Bridges and in 1999 Ruby's own book, Through My Eyes, was published. Today, Ruby Bridges continues to live in New Orleans and works in schools around the country to promote education.

Who is Ruby Bridges' mom? ›

Bridges was the eldest of five children born to Abon and Lucille Bridges. As a child, she spent much time taking care of her younger siblings, though she also enjoyed playing jump rope and softball and climbing trees.

Did Ruby Bridges miss a day of school? ›

She was the only student in the classroom with teacher Barbara Henry, the only teacher willing to accept her, and she spent most of her lunches and recesses alone. In spite of all this, Ruby showed up every day, ready to learn. She did not miss a single day of class.

What did Ruby Bridges pray? ›

When school was over for the day, Ruby hurried through the mob as usual. After she walked a few blocks and the crowd was behind her, Ruby said the prayer she repeated twice a day — before and after school: Please, God, try to forgive those people.

How many sisters did Ruby Bridges have? ›

Ruby Bridges was born on September 8, 1954, the oldest of four children (two brothers - one deceased - and one sister), into a family of sharecroppers in Tylertown, Mississippi. Her parents worked very hard, and life was not easy.

Who inspired the ruby bridge? ›

Answer and Explanation: Malcolm Bridges's, Ruby's younger brother's, death inspired her to establish the Ruby Bridges Foundation. She is currently a promoter of education and helps educate destitute, orphaned, and needy children.

Is the Ruby Bridges Foundation still in business? ›

Her foundation is still running today, and she now travels with her teacher from elementary school, Mrs. Henry, to talk about her story and ways to eliminate racism.

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