She’s still leading by example!
Ruby Bridges, a civil rights icon, just released a new book entitled “This Is Your Time,” People reports.
Bridges made history at just six-years-old as the first Black child to integrate an elementary school in the American South. Her image, walking into first grade at William Frantz Elementary School in Louisiana, was captured in the famous 1964 Norman Rockwell painting, “The Problem We All Live With.”
Painting Courtesy of Norman Rockwell
The civil rights crusader said she doesn’t remember much about that pivotal day. Still, she remembers being escorted into school by four white federal marshals surrounded by a crowd of angry white adults hurling racial slurs and tomatoes.
Photo Courtesy of Anonymous/AP/Shutterstock
“I didn’t know who they were or why they were there, but living in New Orleans, I thought I had just gotten caught up in the middle of a Mardi Gras parade. Now we all know that was truly not the case,” Bridges told People.
Now, 66-years-old, Bridges often credits “[her] parents [as] the real heroes,” NBC News reports. It was her mother, Lucille Bridges, who walked with 6-year-old Ruby past the angry mobs to integrate Wiliam Frantz. As a result of their heroism, Lucille’s husband and Ruby’s father, Abon, faced an onslaught of backlash. Many segregationists withdrew their children from the school, with Bridges spending an entire school year alone in a classroom with teacher Barbara Henry, the only white teacher willing to instruct Bridges. Abon lost his job, and grocery stores refused to serve Lucille and the family, not to mention the constant fear they experienced.
While traumatic, both Lucille and Abon stood on their principals and kept Ruby at the school. Bridges released “This Is Your Time,” her third book, in honor of her parents this past Tuesday, November 10th, the same day her mother Lucille passed away at 86.
Photo Courtesy of Steve Ueckert/AP
“Today our country lost a hero. Brave, progressive, a champion for change. She helped alter the course of so many lives by setting me out on my path as a six-year-old little girl. Our nation lost a Mother of the Civil Rights Movement today. And I lost my mom. I love you, and am grateful for you. May you Rest In Peace. Lucille Bridges (August 12th, 1934 – November 10th, 2020),” Bridges wrote on social media.
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The new book explores Bridges’ experience, including her work over the last six decades through the Ruby Bridges Foundation and as a civil rights activist. The book also discusses how the 1960s movement mirrors the protests of today. In her book, she encourages everyone to stand up to the evil that is racism while promoting tolerance and cultural understanding.
“Racism is alive and well. But I’ve seen hope in the young people I speak with and see taking to the streets. I totally believe in them and want to remind them that we have to come together, we have to stand together, and we have to believe that this country can be better…We had to go through what we experienced in the 1960s to get to where we are today. We should have made a lot more progress than we have, but it is being made,” Bridges said.
You can purchase your copy of “Ruby Bridges: This Is Your Time” here.
Thank you for your sacrifice Ms. Bridges. Because of you, we can.
Photos Courtesy of Tom Dumont Photo/Penguin Random House