September 8


September 8, 1954 Ruby Nell Bridges Hall, the first African American child to attend an all-white elementary school in the South, was born in Tylertown, Mississippi but raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. Bridges Hall’s parents volunteered her to participate in the integration of the New Orleans School system and on November 14, 1960, at the age of six, she entered William Frantz Elementary School. This was commemorated in the Norman Rockwell painting “The Problem We All Live With.” After Bridges Hall started school, white parents took their children out of the school and white teachers refused to teach Bridges Hall. Therefore, for the first year Bridges Hall and a single teacher worked alone in a classroom by themselves. Also, Bridges Hall’s father lost his job and her grandparents who were sharecroppers, were kicked off their land. After the first year, thing returned to relative normalcy and Bridges Hall went on to graduate from high school. She then studied travel and tourism and worked as a travel agent for 15 years. In 1999, she formed the Ruby Bridges Foundation to “promote the values of tolerance, respect and appreciation of all differences.” The 1998 made for TV movie “Ruby Bridges” told of her struggles during her first year of school. In 2001, Bridges Hall was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal, which is given to a person “who has performed exemplary deeds or services for his or her country or fellow citizens,” by President William Clinton. In 2006, the Ruby Bridges Elementary School opened in Alameda, California. Bridges Hall continues to serve as an inspirational speaker against racism.


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