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20 Important Ruby Bridges Facts to Know in Honor of Her Birthday

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September 8, 2023

At just six years old, Ruby Bridges changed the course of history and made an invaluable contribution to the fight for civli rights in America.

In November 1960, Bridges became the first Black student to desegregate the all-white William Frantz Elementary School in Louisiana — which is recognized as a pivotal moment in the history of the Civil Rights Movement. Bridges went on to become an author, speaker, and life-long civil rights activist.

And in celebration of Bridge’s birthday on September 8, we’ve rounded up 20 facts you need to know about the civil rights icon. 

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1. Ruby Bridges was born on September 8, 1954, in Tylertown, Mississippi.

2. Ruby Bridges’ middle name is Nell. 

3. Ruby Bridges’ father is Abon Bridges and her mother is Lucille Bridges.

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4. Ruby Bridges is the oldest of her five siblings. 

5. Ruby Bridges was escorted to school by U.S. Marshals due to the angry mob of white protestors outside the school.

6. Ruby Bridges parents were sharecroppers in Mississippi before moving to New Orleans.

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7. The decision to integrate Ruby Bridges’ school was a result of the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education, which ruled segregation unconstitutional.

8. For a whole year, Ruby Bridges was taught in a classroom alone.

9. Barbara Henry, a white teacher from Boston, was Ruby Bridges’ only instructor.

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10. American artist Norman Rockwell depicted Ruby Bridges in his iconic painting “The Problem We All Live With.” The painting depicted Ruby Bridges walking to school surrounded by U.S. Marshals.

11. Ruby Bridges graduated from the integrated Francis T. Nicholls High School in New Orleans. 

12. Ruby Bridges graduated from the Kansas City Business School.

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13. Ruby Bridges studied travel and tourism at Kansas City Business School. 

14. Ruby Bridges married Malcolm Hall in 1984.

15. Ruby Bridges and her husband, Malcolm Hall, have four sons together.

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16. In 1995, Ruby Bridges established the Ruby Bridges Foundation to promote tolerance and create change through education.

17. Ruby Bridges story was adapted into the 1998 made-for-TV movie by ABC titled “Ruby Bridges.”

18. Ruby Bridges received the Presidential Citizens Medal from President Bill Clinton in 2001.

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19. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis in Indiana has a permanent exhibition documenting Ruby Bridges’ life. 

20. Ruby Bridges has written several books about her experiences as a child fighting desegregation — including the 1999 book Through My Eyes and the 2022 book I Am Ruby Bridges: How One Six-Year-Old Girl’s March to School Changed the World.

    Photo by Bryan Dozier/Shutterstock

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    B Hayes
    B Hayes
    8 months ago

    I was So Proud of that little girl when first finding out what happened, in 1960, I had no children & lived in a state where schools were integrated.💓👏🏽👏🏾👏

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