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Birthday: September 8, 1954Birthplace: Tylertown, Mississippi (US) Ruby Bridges is famous for doing something most of us take for granted today: going to elementary school.
Henry to stand up and take on the challenge of not only teaching Ruby, but knowing by taking on that challenge that she would be excluded and still took on helping Ruby develop her education. My mother was really happy about [my] being able to attend that school. KR: What was your first day at William Frantz Public School like? KR: How did your teacher, Barbara Henry, help you that year? Henry was one of the nicest teachers I ever had, and she made school fun for me. Her father lost his job, her grandparents, sharecroppers, who lived in Mississippi, was kicked off the land, and the Bridges family in general received death threats.
Kaelin Ray, a student reporter for , interviewed Ruby on November 8, 2010 to remember the life changing event that Ruby’s first day of school had on her and many other African Americans. RB: My first day I spent sitting in the principal’s office, so it was very confusing. However, the black community gave her father a job and helped the family through the harsh times.[iii] Robert Coles, Ruby’s psychiatrist at William Frantz, would meet with Ruby once a week and later on in his life he wrote a book called, Ruby Bridges Hall still lives in New Orleans today and is the Chair of the Ruby Bridges Foundation.
All that changed with Ruby, who was one of the first blacks to go to an all-white school.
Her dad didn’t want her to go to the all-white William Frantz School.Ruby took her entrance exam in the spring of 1960 and was chosen to participate along with five others.Two of the six dropped out of the program and the other three were sent to Mc Donough Elementary, but Ruby was sent to William Frantz Elementary and was the only black child to attend the school.At that time, people wanted to keep black people and white people separate because whites didn’t think that blacks were as good as them.For example, blacks and whites had separate drinking fountains, blacks had to sit in the back of buses and blacks and whites each had their own separate schools.Ruby moved with her parents to New Orleans when she was four years old and at the age of six a phone call was receive by Ruby’s parents.The phone call was from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People wanting Ruby to take part in the integration of public schools in New Orleans. However, her mother agreed that Ruby should go and gain the new experience because she realized the impact that Ruby attending an all white school could have on the future of African Americans.The 6-year-old title character, selected as one of the first African Americans to attend a white school, is escorted by federal marshals each morning past a throng of shouting, fist-waving protesters: clean-cut young men who are red with rage, an ordinary-looking mother who screams that she’s going to hang or poison Ruby, a grandmother who holds an effigy of a black child in a coffin.Youths can learn a lot from this “Wonderful World of Disney” presentation Sunday on ABC, particularly if parents are ready and willing to discuss it with them afterward. This movie is, at times, very, very difficult to watch, but we all would do well to remember what prejudice can make us capable of--and what overcoming it can achieve. In the best tradition of movie-making, “Ruby Bridges"--which is based on actual events--is an exhilarating tale of strength, perseverance, love and faith.But that simple act by one small girl played an important part in the Civil Rights Movement. Ruby was born on September 8, 1954 in Tylertown, Mississippi.A year later, her family moved to New Orleans, Louisiana.