- NAME: Ruby Bridges
- OCCUPATION: Civil Rights Activist
- BIRTH DATE: September 08, 1954 (Age: 59)
- Did You Know?: In 1960, Ruby Bridges became the first African-American child to attend an all-white elementary school in the South.
- EDUCATION: William Frantz Elementary School
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Tylertown, Mississippi
- Full Name: Ruby Nell Bridges Hall
- Maiden Name: Ruby Nell Bridges
- AKA: Ruby Bridges
- ZODIAC SIGN: Virgo
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Ruby Bridges was the first African-American child to attend an all-white public elementary school in the American South.
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Ruby Bridges visited President Barack Obama to see Norman Rockwell's painting hanging outside of the Oval Office. The painting depicts her walk to school on the day of school integration in New Orleans. Video courtesy of the White House.
After Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man, the African American community rallied behind her and refused to ride the segregated buses even if it meant walking to work.
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She began to volunteer at the school three days a week and soon became a parent-community liaison. The coincidence of all this, to have her brother's death bring her back to her elementary school where so much had taken place, didn't escape Ruby, but she wasn't sure why all this happened. In 1995, she got her answer. Robert Coles, Bridges's child psychologist, published a children's book on his time with her entitled The Story of Ruby Bridges. Soon after, Barbara Henry,
her teacher that first year at Frantz School, contacted Bridges and they were reunited on the Oprah Winfrey show.
With Bridges's experience as liaison at the school, and her reconnection with influential people in her past, she began to see a need for bringing parents back into the schools to take a more active role in their children's education. 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 their 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 exhibit documenting Bridges's life, along with the lives of Anne Frank and Ryan White.
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Browse our collection of African-American pioneers in education, including Ruby Bridges, the first African-American child to attend an all-white elementary school in the South; Henry Ossian Flipper; the first African American to graduate from the United States Military Academy at West Point; Marie M. Daly, the first African-American woman to receive a Ph.D. in chemistry in the United States; Alexander Lucius Twilight, the first African American to graduate from a U.S. college; and Charlotte E. Ray, the first female African-American lawyer in the U.S. Explore full biographies, photo galleries, videos and more, only at Biography.com.
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