When she was just six years old, Ruby Bridges made history back on Nov. 14, 1960, as she was escorted by federal marshals into William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans as the first Black student. A picture is now making the rounds on the internet of Bridges’ six-year-old silhouette as the shadow of another history maker, vice president elect Kamala Harris, and according to People, Bridges is a fan of both Harris and the meme.
Her son was the one who showed her the picture, and Bridges told People when she saw the image, it “made me feel a sense of pride to be a part of that journey. But I also felt a responsibility to all of those who came before me. Because I’m also standing on the shoulders and in the shadows of people who made huge sacrifices for all of us.”
The silhouette is from the 1963 Norman Rockwell painting of Bridges on her historic walk. The painting, called “The Problem We All Live With,” was loaned for an exhibit in the White House for the 50th anniversary of the walk at the request of then President Barack Obama (via Norman Rockwell Museum).
Bridges didn't know what she was walking into
Crowds were chanting, “Two, four, six, eight, we don’t want to integrate” as Bridges walked to school; the first-grader hadn’t been told what to expect because as her mother said, “What would you say to a 6-year-old when you’re about to go into school and they don’t want you there, and there are going to be lots of people outside throwing things and screaming at you? There’s no way you could explain that,” (via USA Today). It was after the landmark ruling by the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education that required schools to integrate, and with the 60th anniversary of the event, Bridges has written a book This Is Your Time, a children’s book to tell her story and to inspire little ones.
She also recently appeared via Zoom at an anniversary event held by The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. She museum has a recreation of her New Orleans classroom on exhibit, and according to USA Today, she said, “I want to make sure that no kid goes through what I went through just to go to school. When I’m in schools talking to kids, I see their hearts. I see their pain, I see sadness sometimes. I see love, and it just brings me back to that classroom and being six. It inspires me.”
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