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Ruby Bridges

“I learned a very valuable lesson, and it is that we should not ever look up at a person or judge them by the color of their skin, that’s the lesson I have learned in first grade.” ~  Bridges

In late 1960, a six year old girl stepped into the school where she attended her first grade all alone, this courageous black child paved the way for the integration of schools at the troubled times of New Orleans. Ruby Nell Bridges, now a civil right activist, was the one among six young Afro American children to be enrolled in to a integrate white school in the American South.

Born on September 8, 1954 in Trylertown, Mississippi, she was the eldest among eight siblings. Their family was poor and had a farm, for a better life they moved to New Orleans. Her father got the job as a service station attendant and her mother took night jobs to support the growing family. She being the eldest sister took care of the children and went to far away school, segregated for black children. Their lives changed with the new law passed in New Orleans, according to which blacks can attend the integrated school and segregation was abolished.

Bridges took the test amid the black students in order to be selected for the integrated school. Her father opposed it initially since he was afraid of inviting unnecessary trouble but her mother favored the decision for her daughters better future. Despite the test being difficult Ruby Bridges passed it and on November 16, 1960, escorted by four marshals and her mother she entered city’s William Frantz Elementary School. On her first day she sat in principals office as havoc was created by the white parents outside the school protesting against the blacks integration with whites. On the second day, she was in her new class all alone with a white teacher Mrs. Henry, who taught her for one year and a valuable bond was established between the two individuals.

“I couldn’t have gotten through that year without Mrs. Henry. Sitting next to her in our classroom, just the two of us, I was able to forget the

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