Ruby Bridges

By: Destiny Figueroa

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Ruby Nell Bridges Hall is an American activist known for being the first black child to desegregate the all-white William Frantz Elementary School in Louisiana during the New Orleans school desegregation crisis in 1960.


When she was 4 yrs. old her parents moved to New Orleans, hoping for a better life in a bigger city. Her father got a job as a gas attendant and her mother took night jobs to help support their growing family. Soon, young Ruby had two younger brothers and a younger sister.


Ruby later on had passed the test that would determine whether she would go to a all-white-school. When she did she had to be escorted by federal marshals because of all the chaos the white people did.Ruby was the only student in Henry's class, because parents pulled or threatened to pull their children from Ruby's class and send them to other schools. For a full year, Henry and Ruby sat side by side at two desks, working on Ruby's lessons. Henry was very loving and supportive of Ruby, helping her not only with her studies but also with the difficult experience of being ostracized.She spent her entire day, every day, in Mrs. Henry's classroom, not allowed to go to the cafeteria or out to recess to be with other students in the school. When she had to go to the restroom, the federal marshals walked her down the hall.


The abuse wasn't limited to only Ruby Bridges; her family suffered as well. Her father lost his job at the filling station, and her grandparents were sent off the land they had sharecropped for over 25 years. The grocery store where the family shopped banned them from entering. However, many others in the community, both black and white, began to show support in a variety of ways. Ruby began to show signs of stress. She experienced nightmares and would wake her mother in the middle of the night seeking comfort. For a time, she stopped eating lunch in her classroom, which she usually ate alone. Ruby started seeing child psychologist Dr. Robert Coles.


She then studied travel and tourism at the Kansas City business school and worked for American Express as a world travel agent. In 1984, Ruby married Malcolm Hall in New Orleans, and later became a full-time parent to their four sons. In 1999, Bridges formed the Ruby Bridges Foundation, headquartered in New Orleans.


In 1999, Bridges formed the Ruby Bridges Foundation, headquartered in New Orleans. The foundation promotes the values of tolerance, respect, and appreciation of all differences. Through education and inspiration, the foundation seeks to end racism and prejudice. As its motto goes, "Racism is a grown-up disease and we must stop using our children to spread it." In 2007, the Children's Museum of Indianapolis unveiled a new exhibition documenting Bridges' life, along with the lives of Anne Frank and Ryan White.

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