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Ruby Bridges
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Advocate
    (September 8, 1954- )
    Born in Tylertown, Mississippi
    Married name is Ruby Bridges Hall
    Family moved to New Orleans when she was four
    One of the first black children to integrate an elementary school (November 14, 1960)
    Founder and chair of Ruby Bridges Foundation (1999)
    Presidential Citizens Medal (2001)
    Subject of painting by Norman Rockwell, ‘The Problem We All Live With’ (1964)
    She is often wrongly thought to be the first black child to attend a previously segregated school.
    Her parents argued about whether or not to send her to an integrated school.
    She was picked over other children to attend William Frantz Elementary School because she scored highly on a scholastic test.
    She lived most of her life in New Orleans.
    Disney made a so-so TV movie about her, 'Ruby Bridges' (1998).
    She had to be escorted to school by four federal marshals every day for her protection.
    The noisy mob she saw on the first day made her think it was Mardi Gras.
    One protester showed her a black doll in a coffin; another threatened to poison her.
    She was the only child in her class as most parents removed their children from the school (some because they were afraid of the protesters).
    All of the teachers, except one, refused to teach her.
    She credits prayer with helping her to pass the angry demonstrators every day.
    She believes the protesters were afraid of change rather than evil.
    The next year, most of the other children had returned and the school was fully integrated.
    She raised her four nieces along with her four sons after they were orphaned.
    She now volunteers at the very school she helped to integrate.
    One of the marshals later said, 'She never cried. She didn't whimper. She just marched along like a little soldier, and we're all very proud of her.'

Credit: Georgina


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