Ruby Bridges Facts for Kids (2024)

Quick facts for kids

Ruby Bridges

Bridges in 2011

Born

Ruby Nell Bridges


September 8, 1954 (age69)

Tylertown, Mississippi, U.S.

OccupationPhilanthropist, activist

Bridges with U.S. Marshal escort

Ruby Nell Bridges Hall (born September 8, 1954) is an American activist. She is known for being the first black child to attend an all-white elementary school in the South. She went to William Frantz Elementary School.

Contents

  • Early life
  • Integration
  • Adult life
  • Ruby Bridges quotes
  • Interesting Facts About Ruby Bridges
  • Awards and honors
  • Images for kids
  • See also

Early life

Bridges was born on September 8, 1954 in Tylertown, Mississippi. She 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. When she was four years old, the family relocated to New Orleans, Louisiana. In 1960, when she was six years old, her parents responded to a request from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and volunteered her to participate in the integration of the New Orleans school system.

Integration

In a 1954 decision, Brown v. Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court made Racial segregation against the law. Ruby, who was born the year the law passed, was chosen to attend the all-white William Frantz Elementary School. The school board said that black children could attend the first grade if they passed a test. Bridges passed the test. As soon as Bridges entered the school, many white parents pulled their children out. Only one person agreed to teach Bridges, and that was Barbara Henry from Boston, Massachusetts. For over a year Henry taught her alone, "as if she were teaching a whole class."

On her first day of school, four U.S. Marshals had to go with her to school. Angry crowds of parents shouted threats at her and parents did not let their children go to school. There was such chaos that first day that Ruby could not make it to her classroom. For the next six months, the marshals took her to and from her school. Former United States Deputy Marshal Charles Burks later recalled, "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."

On the second day of school, the boycott broke. After this, more people started sending their children to school again. This does not mean that all of the trouble was over, however. People tried to hurt her family. Her father lost his job and her grandparents were thrown off their farm in Georgia. Ruby never missed a day of school that year. The story of her going to a white school is the subject of a Norman Rockwell painting called The Problem We All Live With.

Adult life

Ruby finished elementary school and graduated from high school. Bridges went on to become a travel agent for American Express. Mrs. Ruby Bridges Hall is married and has four sons. She still lives in New Orleans. In 1999, she wrote a children's book, Through My Eyes, telling her story. The same year she started the Ruby Bridges Foundation to promote "the values of tolerance, respect, and appreciation of all differences." She travels and talks to children all over the country.

On January 8, 2001, President Bill Clinton awarded Ruby Bridges the Presidential Citizens Medal. She was one of 28 to receive the medal that day.

Ruby Bridges quotes

  • "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!"
  • "I now know that experience comes to us for a purpose, and if we follow the guidance of the spirit within us, we will probably find that the purpose is a good one."
  • "Racism is a grown-up disease and we must stop using our children to spread it."

Interesting Facts About Ruby Bridges

William Frantz Elementary School building in 2010

  • Ruby enjoyed jumping rope, climbing trees, and playing softball when she was young.
  • On November 14, her first day at William Frantz Elementary School, she was the only black student there.
  • Barbara Henry was the only teacher who agreed to teach Ruby. She began teaching Ruby on her second day of school.
  • Ruby's courageous story can be read to children from the book The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles.
  • Ruby was one of only six children who passed the entrance test, which was designed to be difficult.

Awards and honors

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.

On August 10, 2000, the 40 year anniversary of her walk into William Frantz Elementary School, Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder made Ruby Bridges an Honorary Deputy U.S. Marshal.

On January 8, 2001, Bridges was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal by President Bill Clinton.

In November 2006, Bridges was honored as a "Hero Against Racism" at the 12th annual Anti-Defamation League "Concert Against Hate" with the National Symphony Orchestra, held at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.

On May 19, 2012, Bridges received an Honorary Degree from Tulane University at the annual graduation ceremony at the Superdome.

On November 9, 2023, Bridges was awarded the Robert Coles Call of Service Award by the Phillips Brooks House Association at Harvard University, and gave the corresponding lecture at Memorial Church.

Two elementary schools are named after Bridges: one in Alameda, California, and another in Woodinville, Washington. A statue of Bridges stands in the courtyard of William Frantz Elementary School.

Images for kids

  • Bridges and President Barack Obama view the painting by Rockwell in the White House.

  • Ruby Bridges speaking at Texas A&M University–Commerce in February 2015

  • Ruby Bridges Hall speaking at Algiers Point temporary branch library, New Orleans.

  • Ruby Bridges and Kamala Harris, March 2020

See also

Ruby Bridges Facts for Kids (8) In Spanish: Ruby Bridges para niños

Black History Month on Kiddle

African-American female entrepreneurs

Madam C. J. Walker
Janet Emerson Bashen
Annie Turnbo Malone
Maggie L. Walker

All content from Kiddle encyclopedia articles (including the article images and facts) can be freely used under Attribution-ShareAlike license, unless stated otherwise. Cite this article:

Ruby Bridges Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.

Ruby Bridges Facts for Kids (2024)

FAQs

Ruby Bridges Facts for Kids? ›

On November 14, 1960, at the age of six, Ruby became the very first African American child to attend the all-white public William Frantz Elementary School. Ruby and her Mother were escorted by federal marshals to the school.

What are 5 interesting facts about Ruby Bridges? ›

Interesting Facts About Ruby Bridges
  • Ruby enjoyed jumping rope, climbing trees, and playing softball when she was young.
  • On November 14, her first day at William Frantz Elementary School, she was the only black student there.
  • Barbara Henry was the only teacher who agreed to teach Ruby.
Feb 22, 2024

What did Ruby Bridges do at 6 years old? ›

On November 14, 1960, at the age of six, Ruby became the very first African American child to attend the all-white public William Frantz Elementary School. Ruby and her Mother were escorted by federal marshals to the school.

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 is Ruby Bridges favorite 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 are 2 important facts about Ruby Bridges? ›

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. She was the eldest of five children.

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 was Ruby Bridges real name? ›

Ruby Bridges
Bridges in 2011
BornRuby Nell Bridges September 8, 1954 Tylertown, Mississippi, U.S.
Occupation(s)Philanthropist, activist
Websitewww.rubybridges.com

What did Ruby Bridges face? ›

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.

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.

Is Ruby Bridges a hero? ›

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.

What race was Ruby Bridges? ›

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.

Why did Ruby Bridges stop eating? ›

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. Her perseverance and continued walk to school through the crowd was immortalized in art, publicized across the country, and received national response.

Did Ruby Bridges go to college? ›

No, Ruby Bridges did not attend college. However, she has earned to honorary degrees for her work as a civil rights activist. Bridges' honorary degrees were awarded from Connecticut College and Tulane University.

Who inspired Ruby Bridges? ›

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.

What is the most interesting thing about 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.

What are some school facts about Ruby Bridges? ›

Ruby Bridges was the first Black child to attend an all-white school in the South. Ruby Bridges started attending William Frantz Elementary School on November 14, 1960. She was only six years old at the time.

Did Ruby Bridges have any kids? ›

Did Ruby Bridges go to school alone? ›

Ruby had to spend the entire first school year alone with one teacher, Barbara Henry. People tried to hurt her family.

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