Young People Who Were Change Makers
By: Edwin P. Gordon, PhD, Head of School
At the young age of six, Ruby Bridges became the first African American student to integrate an elementary school in the South, thereby advancing the cause of civil rights in November 1960.
Ruby Bridges and her parents fought for her to attend an all-white elementary school just blocks away from her house in New Orleans, LA so she could have the same quality education as other children. However, because of the color of her skin, she was denied admittance.
By fall 1960, Ruby and her mother were escorted by four federal Marshalls to school every day that year. She walked past crowds screaming vicious slurs at her. She even spent her first day in the principal’s office due to the chaos created by angry parents and was accepted by only one teacher in the entire school. Undeterred by their actions, Ruby persevered and years later graduated high school and pursued a career and married. She later became know as a lifelong activist for racial equality and published two books.
Ruby Bridges used her bravery and courage despite circumstances to change education in America. She is this week’s Black History Month’s Changemaker.
Bridges Hall, Ruby. Through My Eyes, Scholastic Press, 1999
Norman Rockwell, 1964. Story illustration for The Problem We All Live With, in Look magazine.
Edwin P. Gordon, PhD
Head of School