Bridges (Black History 365)

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Painting done by Norman Rockwell

This painting was created by Norman Rockwell which depicts a six-year-old Ruby Bridges with U.S. Marshall’s as she makes her way to the then all-white William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans Louisiana. We’ve had many iconic black individuals who have made contributions and advancements to the civil rights movement during their adult life but not too many have done it at a very young age as Ruby Bridges had and that’s why I want to explain how her bravery created changes to be made in terms of school integration. Ruby Bridges was born on September 8th, 1954 in Tylertown Mississippi but her family relocated to New Orleans Louisiana once she turned two because they wanted to find better job opportunities there. Bridge’s birth year coincided during the three years of the US Supreme Court landmark ruling of Brown vs Board of Education 1952 to 1955 which ended racial segregation in public schools. By law, it was so but many southern states still resisted in integrating black and white students, and that’s where Ruby Bridges came along and challenged them. Before she could attend the segregated public school the school district challenged her academic ability to see if she could compete with the white students. Bridges passed as did five other black students and she was admitted but she would face animosity by a white mob outside the school daily. White students parents had their kids removed from class because they were sharing a classroom with Bridges, but the one person who showed her respect was her teacher Barbara Henry. Henry was the only teacher willing to teach her. Bridges never missed a day of school and looked forward to seeing Ms. Henry everyday and her teacher went as far eating with Ruby which at that time was not allowed. Whites and blacks couldn’t eat or have social interactions with one another due to Jim Crow laws. Even though Ruby Bridges and her family had to endure adversity on a daily basis for an entire school year, she made it through due to her resilience to finish what she started and she did just that by graduating from William Frantz Elementary, becoming a travel agent with four sons. Furthermore, Bridges would reunite with her teacher Barbara Henry in the mid-1990’s and they did speaking engagements together. Bridges would write two books about her experiences growing up during segregation and received the Carter G. Woodson. She established the Ruby Bridges Foundation in 1999 that aimed to promote tolerance and create change in education, and in 2000 she was made honorary deputy Marshall in a ceremony in Washington DC. In conclusion, if you closely at the painting you can see the racial slurs and items like tomatoes and such that were thrown at a young girl who didn’t allow hate to affect her future. Leave a like and comment if you feel the need too, and give my page a follow so you can stay up to date with my future posts. As always peace and keep it real.

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