Ruby Bridges, at the tender age of 6, bravely challenged the forces of white segregation and embarked on a journey that countless children undertake every autumn: attending school.
In a significant event that took place on November 14, 1960, Bridges, who is currently 69 years old, was accompanied by U.S. marshals as she entered the premises of William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, Louisiana. A group of protesters, predominantly white, verbally confronted her on that particular day. The little girl and her mother were subjected to daily assaults throughout the entire year.
In the face of relentless taunting, bullying, and hatred, Bridges showed remarkable resilience by never missing a single day of school. Her family’s efforts are hailed as a significant milestone in the desegregation of schools.
“I appeared to be by myself,” she commented on the photographs capturing her entrance into the establishment. “However, I was not.” The Lord was by my side in the past, and he remains by my side at present.
Ruby Bridges, one of the pioneering Black children who bravely integrated an all-white school in the South, delivered a powerful speech on Monday at Lansing’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commission of Mid-Michigan’s Day of Celebration luncheon. The event drew an impressive crowd of over 1,500 attendees.
“This event is being hailed as the most significant and impressive luncheon in honor of Dr. King,” stated Tony Baltimore, the first vice chair of the commission. Bridges remains an active civil rights advocate, with a notable career as an author and public speaker.
“I find myself straddling between the past and the present,” she stated. “And that can be quite unsettling at times. Having witnessed the past, I am compelled to draw parallels to the present and consider the possibility of history repeating itself.
In a recent statement, Bridges highlighted what he believes to be the most pressing issue in our society. According to him, it is not racism that poses the greatest challenge, but rather the fundamental struggle between good and evil. She referred to racism as a component of that struggle. The rising levels of violence are a cause for great concern to her. “The impact of racism is evident in the erosion of trust among individuals based on appearances, leading to detrimental consequences for society as a whole.”
Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, a Democrat from Holly, expressed that her encounter with Bridges served as a reminder of the relatively recent occurrence of the Civil Rights Movement in American history.
“She is a young woman. “This woman is not just a figure from the history books,” she emphasized. “She is alive and vibrant, and her story has only recently been shared through the memories of those who have known her,” she explained.
In a recent statement, Bridges expressed her concern over the attempts made by legislatures and schools to alter or erase certain aspects of civil rights history, despite the fact that these events occurred nearly 65 years ago.
In her statement, she expressed her belief that through showcasing individuals’ abilities, a potential wave of future leaders can be motivated to persist in their pursuit of justice and equal rights.
“The way history is taught has changed, and many consider it unfortunate,” she said. “In the realm of concealing the negative actions we’ve taken against one another, it becomes necessary to also conceal the positive.”