Ruby Bridges | Biography, Books, Accomplishments, & Facts (2024)

Ruby Bridges

Category:

In full:
Ruby Nell Bridges
Married name:
Ruby Bridges-Hall
Born:
September 8, 1954, Tylertown, Mississippi, U.S. (age 69)
Role In:
American civil rights movement

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What did Ruby Bridges do for a living?

Ruby Bridges worked as a travel agent before becoming a stay-at-home mother. In 1993 she began working as parent liaison at the grade school she had attended, and in 1999 she formed the Ruby Bridges Foundation to promote tolerance and unity.

What is Ruby Bridges remembered for?

At the age of six she was the youngest of a group of African American students sent to all-white schools in order to integrate schools in the American South in response to a court order. She was the only black student to attend William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans in 1960.

What did Ruby Bridges accomplish?

For the first year, she was escorted by marshals and was taught by a single teacher, while white parents pulled their children from the school and shouted threats and insults. She went to school every single day, and by the next year more black students and white students began attending together.

What made Ruby Bridges famous?

Photographs of her going to school inspired Norman Rockwell to paint The Problem We All Live With. Bridges wrote a memoir, Through My Eyes, and a children’s book, Ruby Bridges Goes to School. Her story was told in a TV movie, Ruby Bridges.

Ruby Bridges (born September 8, 1954, Tylertown, Mississippi, U.S.) American activist who became a symbol of the civil rights movement and who was, at age six, the youngest of a group of African American students to integrate schools in the American South.

Bridges was the eldest of eight children, born into poverty in the state of Mississippi. 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. Her father was initially opposed to her attending an all-white school, but Bridges’s mother convinced him to let Bridges enroll.

Britannica QuizPop Quiz: 17 Things to Know About the American Civil Rights Movement

Of the six African American students designated to integrate the school, Bridges was the only one to enroll. On November 14, 1960, her first day, she was escorted to school by four federal marshals. Bridges spent the entire day in the principal’s office as irate parents marched into the school to remove their children. On Bridges’s second day, Barbara Henry, a young teacher from Boston, began to teach her. The two worked together in an otherwise vacant classroom for an entire year. Every day as the marshals escorted Bridges to school, they urged her to keep her eyes forward so that—though she could hear the insults and threats of the angry crowd— she would not have to see the racist remarks scrawled across signs or the livid faces of the protesters. Bridges’s main confidants during this period were her teacher and Robert Coles, a renowned child psychologist who studied the reaction of young children toward extreme stress or crisis. Toward the end of the year, the crowds began to thin, and by the following year the school had enrolled several more Black students.

Bridges’s bravery inspired the Norman Rockwell painting The Problem We All Live With (1963), which depicts the young Bridges walking to school between two sets of marshals, a racial epithet marking the wall behind them. Her story was also recounted in Coles’s children’s book The Story of Ruby Bridges (1995), which has his conversations with her as its foundation. In 1993 she began working as a parent liaison at Frantz, which had by that time become an all-Black school. Bridges also spoke about her youthful experiences to a variety of groups around the country. Her memoir, Through My Eyes, was released in 1999, the same year that she established the Ruby Bridges Foundation, which used educational initiatives to promote tolerance and unity among schoolchildren. In 2009 she published the children’s book Ruby Bridges Goes to School: My True Story.

The Editors of Encyclopaedia BritannicaThis article was most recently revised and updated by Amy Tikkanen.

Ruby Bridges | Biography, Books, Accomplishments, & Facts (2024)

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Ruby Bridges | Biography, Books, Accomplishments, & Facts? ›

Bridges

Bridges
Ruby Nell Bridges Hall (born September 8, 1954) is an American civil rights activist. She was the first African American child to attend formerly whites-only William Frantz Elementary School in Louisiana during the New Orleans school desegregation crisis on November 14, 1960.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Ruby_Bridges
graduated from a desegregated high school, became a travel agent, married, and had four sons. A lifelong activist
activist
an activist; a political activist.
https://en.wiktionary.org › wiki › aktibista
for racial equality, she established the Ruby Bridges Foundation in 1999 to promote tolerance and create change through education.

What were Ruby Bridges main accomplishments? ›

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.

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.

What happened to Ruby Bridges in 1995? ›

In September 1995, Bridges and Robert Coles were awarded honorary degrees from Connecticut College and appeared together in public for the first time to accept the awards. Bridges' Through My Eyes won the Carter G. Woodson Book Award in 2000.

What is Ruby Bridges 3 accomplishments? ›

1960 - Ruby was the first African American to go to an all white school (William Frantz Public School). 1972 - Ruby graduates from high school. 1995 - Dr. Robert Coles publishes " The Story of Ruby Bridges".

What and how did Ruby Bridges accomplish her goals? ›

Ruby Bridges: A Pioneering Civil Rights Activist Who Continues to Inspire Today. Ruby Bridges is an extraordinary figure in American history, renowned for her unwavering commitment and bravery as she became the first African American child to integrate an all-white elementary school in the South.

Is Ruby Bridges still alive? ›

Ruby Bridges is still alive and is sixty-six years old. She has worked as a civil right activist her whole life. Throughout her life, Bridges has received many honors and awards.

Did Ruby Bridges win any prizes? ›

Bridges is the recipient of numerous awards, including the NAACP Martin Luther King Award, the Presidential Citizens Medal, and honorary doctorate degrees from Connecticut College, College of New Rochelle, Columbia University Teachers College, and Tulane University.

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 inspired Ruby Bridges? ›

Bridges was inspired following the murder of her youngest brother, Malcolm Bridges, in a drug-related killing in 1993 — which brought her back to her former elementary school. For a time, Bridges looked after Malcolm's four children, who attended William Frantz School.

What is Ruby Bridges' famous quote? ›

“Don't follow the path. Go where there is no path and begin the trail. When you start a new trail equipped with courage, strength and conviction, the only thing that can stop you is you!”

What did Ruby Bridges do in 1958? ›

Her parents worked as sharecroppers then when she was four they moved to New Orleans in 1958. One year later Ruby began kindergarten at Johnson Lockett Elementary, a segregated school.

What happened to Ruby Bridges in 1972? ›

Ruby and her mother were escorted by four federal marshals to the school every day that year. She walked past crowds screaming vicious slurs at her. Undeterred, she later said she only became frightened when she saw a woman holding a black baby doll in a coffin.

How long did Ruby Bridges have PTSD? ›

The bitterness from those traumatic school days lingered for more than three decades, she said, hindering her ability to appreciate her place in the fight to desegregate the South. "From age 7 to about 37, I had a normal life and not a very easy one," Bridges told the Associated Press.

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.

How were Ruby Bridges treated? ›

Ruby faced blatant racism every day while entering the school. Many parents kept their children at home. People outside the school threw objects, police set up barricades. She was threatened and even “greeted" by a woman displaying a black doll in a wooden coffin.

Why did Ruby Bridges get an award? ›

Forty years after breaking the segregation barrier in New Orleans, Ruby Bridges was badged as an honorary deputy marshall for her inspiration and courage for our nation. On October of 2003 she received the Legacy of Caring Award as well as the United States Presidential Citizens Medal in January 2001.

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