#Ruby_Bridges: the six-year-old who defied a mob and desegregated her school | Race | The Guardian
his year, Ruby Bridges saw some newly discovered video footage of her six-year-old self and was terrified for her. The footage was from 14 November 1960, a day that shaped the course of Bridges’ life and – it is no exaggeration to say – American history. Not that she was aware of it at the time. On that day she became the first Black child to attend an all-white primary school in Louisiana.
Looking at images of Bridges’ first day at William Frantz elementary school in New Orleans, she is a study in vulnerability: a tiny girl in her smart new uniform, with white socks and white ribbons in her hair, flanked by four huge federal agents in suits. Awaiting her at the school gates was a phalanx of rabidly hostile protesters, mostly white parents and children, plus photographers and reporters. They yelled names and racial slurs, chanted, and waved placards. One sign read: “All I want for Christmas is a clean white school.” One woman held up a miniature coffin with a black doll in it. It has become one of the defining images of the civil rights movement, popularised even further by Norman Rockwell’s recreation of it in his 1964 painting The Problem We All Live With.