Never forget five hundred kids walked out of school the day that Ruby Bridges showed up.
Parents chanted and threw objects telling her to go home. But day after day, Ruby returned, never understanding why she had to go to a new school.
But it didn’t matter for this little six-year-old girl. There wasn’t much to understand. She never knew the woman who threatened to poison her and another offered her a Black doll in a wooden coffin. Ruby was never bothered and soldiered on because her teacher Mrs. Henry was kind and opened her heart to her.
The lessons surrounding Ruby Bridges are many but simple.
Her family understood the sacrifices. Her father Aben lost his job. Her mother Lucille wasn’t welcome at the grocery store. They were evicted from the farm they had lived in for 25 years.
But gradually, the chanting stopped and the police barricades were no longer needed. Blacks and Whites alike started to show support for Ruby. Protests calmed and parents started sending their kids back to William Franz School.
The government marshalls who walked Ruby to school each day stopped the next year. Ruby walked on her own. Ruby graduated high school and later college, with a degree in travel and tourism. She married, got a job with American Express, and raised four boys. In 1999, Ruby formed the Ruby Bridges Foundation to inspire parents to teach their children about tolerance, respect, and understanding for others.
Reflecting back on her life, Ruby says her faith in God and hope never let her down. She believes racism will end when we stand up for what we believe and stop teaching children to hate.