An inspiring story found on Facebook: Thank you to A Mighty Girl.

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Happy 60th birthday to Ruby Bridges! As a six-year-old, Ruby Bridges famously became the first African American child to desegregate an all-white elementary school in the South. When the 1st grader walked to William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans on November 14, 1960 surrounded by a team of U.S. Marshals, she was met by a vicious mob shouting and throwing objects at her.

One of the federal marshals, Charles Burks, who served on her escort team, recalls Bridges’ courage in the face of such hatred: “For a little girl six years old going into a strange school with four strange deputy marshals, a place she had never been before, she showed a lot of courage. She never cried. She didn’t whimper. She just marched along like a little soldier. We were all very proud of her.”

Once Ruby entered the school, she discovered that it was devoid of children because they had all been removed by their parents due to her presence. The only teacher willing to have Ruby as a student was Barbara Henry, who had recently moved from Boston. Ruby was taught by herself for her first year at the school due to the white parents’ refusal to have their children share a classroom with a black child.

Despite daily harassment, which required the federal marshals to continue escorting her to school for months; threats towards her family; and her father’s job loss due to his family’s role in school integration, Ruby persisted in attending school. The following year, when she returned for second grade, the mobs were gone and more African American students joined her at the school. The pioneering school integration effort was a success due to Ruby Bridges’ inspiring courage, perseverance, and resilience.

If you’d like to share Ruby Bridge’s inspiring story with the children in your life, there are several excellent books about her story including the wonderful picture book “The Story Of Ruby Bridges” for ages 4 to 8 (http://www.amightygirl.com/the-story-of-ruby-bridges), the early chapter book “Ruby Bridges Goes to Story” for ages 5 to 8 (http://www.amightygirl.com/ruby-bridges-goes-to-school), and the highly recommended memoir that Ruby Bridges wrote for young readers 6 to 12 entitled “Through My Eyes” (http://www.amightygirl.com/through-my-eyes).

There is also an inspiring film about her story called “Ruby Bridges” for viewers 7 and up (http://www.amightygirl.com/ruby-bridges).

To give young readers more insight into the school integration struggle, Nobel Prize-winning author, Toni Morrison, has written an outstanding book, that’s filled with photos capturing the major desegregation events of the period, entitled “Remember: The Journey to School Integration” — for ages 9 and up — at http://www.amightygirl.com/remember

For more stories about the courageous girls and women of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, visit our special feature on “Top Mighty Girl Books on Civil Rights History” at http://www.amightygirl.com/mighty-girl-picks/civil-rights-history

For Mighty Girl stories for children and teens that explore racial discrimination and prejudice, visit http://www.amightygirl.com/books/social-issues/prejudice-discrimination?cat=71

 

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24 thoughts on “An inspiring story found on Facebook: Thank you to A Mighty Girl.

  1. Aunt Beulah

    Besides the courage of the child, Ruby, another bright spot for me in this story that never should have happened is the statement from the federal marshal who accompanied her. He seemed to be touched by her composure in the face of hatred and rejection, rather than someone who was reluctantly doing what he was ordered to do.

    The photograph of Ruby brings a tear to my eye every time I see it.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. bkpyett Post author

      The photograph is such a strong one, and you can read so much from their posture. Yes, it’s lovely that the federal marshal was so touched! Thanks Aunt Beulah for your warm response.

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  2. stvrsnbrgr

    Have you ever seen the newsreel footage of the crowds of white people – especially women – their faces twisted with hatred, screaming in rage, as their schools were desegregated by brave young kids and federal troops? It is frightening, and heartbreaking. Barbara, I’m so glad you shared Ruby’s story. Looking at that image of her as a six-year-old girl being escorted to school… her courage and poise is beyond my understanding, really. She literally walked through hell. And she changed her world. It’s a story that must be told and retold, never forgotten. And it holds an important lesson for all of us.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. bkpyett Post author

      Thanks Steve! Last night I listened to a very wise Aboriginal speaker, Noel Pearson, who spoke about moving above racism and thinking of us all on this earth as one race, Humans!
      He’s a wonderful man, and I can see that must be the attitude for now and the future. Let’s hope so!

      Liked by 2 people

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    2. Silver in the Barn

      Steve, you mention the women. John Steinbeck writes about these women, known as the “cheerleaders” in his book “Travels With Charley.” He had traveled into New Orleans and there saw the unforgettable image of women, mostly mothers, screaming, jeering, threatening little children.

      Liked by 2 people

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