Ruby Bridges (U.S. National Park Service) (2024)

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. She was the eldest of five children. When Ruby was 2, the family moved to New Orleans, Louisiana in search of better opportunities.

Though the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling passed in 1954, southern states resisted integration. Ruby first attended a segregated kindergarten in 1959. The following year a federal court ordered Louisiana to desegregate. Ruby's school district created entrance exams for African American students. These exams determined whether African American students could compete academically at an all-white school. Ruby and five other students passed the test. Two students decided to stay at their school. The others, including Ruby, were sent to the all-white McDonough Elementary School.

On November 14, Ruby and her mother were escorted into the William Frantz Elementary School by four federal marshalls. This escort continued all year. Despite the racial slurs, screaming crowds, and only having one teacher willing to accept her, Ruby did not miss a day of school.

The community was torn. Some families supported her bravery. Some northerners sent money to aid her family. Others protested. The entire family suffered for their bravery. Abon Bridges lost his job. Grocery stores refused to sell to Lucille. Her grandparents were evicted from the farm where they had sharecropped for a quarter-century.

Eventually, other African American students enrolled. Ruby went on to graduate from a desegregated highschool, became a travel agent, married, and had four sons. Today, Ruby continues to be a civil rights activist. She established The Ruby Bridges Foundation to help promote tolerance and create change through education.

Ruby Bridges is associated with the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preservein New Orleans, Louisiana.

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    Ruby Bridges (U.S. National Park Service) (2024)


    What are 3 important things Ruby Bridges did? ›

    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.

    What are the essential questions about Ruby Bridges? ›


    How did the actions of Ruby Bridges and her family shape the history of the United States? How does the United States Constitution protect an individual's right to equality under the law? Does the book emphasize the concepts of civic virtue and common good?

    How did Ruby Bridges help America? ›

    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.

    Did Ruby Bridges go to school alone? ›

    In November 1960, Ruby Bridges, a Kindergartner, faced hatred, protests, and death treats as she entered William Frantz Elementary as the first black child there. She attended class completely alone that year and needed to be escorted into the school by U.S. Marshals on a daily basis for the much of the school year.

    What did Ruby Bridges fight for? ›

    A lifelong activist for racial equality, in 1999, Ruby established The Ruby Bridges Foundation to promote tolerance and create change through education. In 2000, she was made an honorary deputy marshal in a ceremony in Washington, DC.

    What struggles did Ruby Bridges face? ›

    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.

    What is a random fact about Ruby Bridges? ›

    Did You Know? After Ruby began attending the all-white elementary school, her father lost his job, her grandparents were evicted, and her mother was refused service at the local grocery stores. Ruby was born the same year that Brown v. Board was decided in favor of desegregation.

    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 did Ruby Bridges say? ›

    She says: “If you really think about it, if we begin to teach history exactly the way that it happened, good, bad, ugly, no matter what, I believe that we're going to find that we are closer, more connected than we are apart.” When she was told that her plan for educational equity was grandiose, she responded: “Well, ...

    What do Ruby Bridges do today? ›

    After graduating from a desegregated high school, she worked as a travel agent for 15 years and later became a full-time parent. She is now chair of the Ruby Bridges Foundation, which she formed in 1999 to promote "the values of tolerance, respect, and appreciation of all differences".

    What did Ruby Bridges' dad do? ›

    Her father lost his job at the gas station, the grocery store where they shopped banned them from returning, and the farm owners sent Ruby's grandparents from the farm they had sharecropped for over 25 years.

    Who did Ruby Bridges get married to? ›

    Ruby Bridges got married to Malcolm Hall and had four sons. In 1993, her brother was shot and killed in New Orleans. Ruby's family went to New Orleans to take care of his daughters. In 1999, she wrote a children's book, "Through My Eyes", telling her story and what she went through.

    How many kids did Ruby Bridges have? ›

    Answer and Explanation: Ruby Bridges and her husband, Malcolm Hall, married in 1984 have had four sons together. The children have decided to remain outside of media attention, therefore little knowledge is know about them personally.

    How did Ruby Bridges show kindness? ›

    She showed unforgettable loving forgiveness and courage when faced with the ugly screaming White mobs who jeered and taunted her every day as she walked into William Frantz Elementary School. Federal marshals had to escort Ruby to school, but she never quit or turned back.

    What was 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.

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