Ruby Bridges was a six year old girl in 1960 when the idea of de-segregation was announced in New Orleans. That year a judge decided that the schools should be integrated, so someone came up with a test for all the black kids to take, hoping that none would pass and they wouldn't need to admit any black children into the white schools. About 5 kids passed, including Ruby. 4 of the kids lived in the boundaries of one school, but Ruby was the only black child living in the boundaries of her school. On her first day of school in her new school, Ruby and her mother were escorted to school by US Marshals, but the school principal really wanted nothing to do with a black child in her school, so they were made to sit in the principal's office the entire school day without anyone even saying anything to them. Soon though, Ruby would have a teacher that she would grow to love, Mrs. Henry, and Ruby would learn that even though they were a different color, they could learn to get along and love each other.
This was a book that we were given at a local reading festival. I loved this story. I had never heard specifically of Ruby Bridges or her story. There was even a movie about her that would have come out when I was in high school, somehow I missed it, but this story told by Ruby herself was a touching one. How sad to make a child go to an all white school when she'd already made friends elsewhere and not allow her the opportunity of making friends in the new school at all. I couldn't believe the things the housewives, that would stand outside of the school as Ruby was entering, would say to her. I would feel terrible if anyone said those kinds of things to one of our kids.
Labels: nonfiction, ruby bridges, youth