What’s the big deal about a six
year-old going to school in New Orleans?
Maybe not much today, but in the fall of 1960, in a totally segregated
school system, a certain girl attending a certain school was a very big deal.
You see, Ruby Bridges was black,
and William Frantz Elementary school was for white children only. Her father didn’t want her to go, but Ruby’s
mother knew some child would have to step up.
So, accompanied by U.S.
Marshalls, six year-old Ruby with school books in hand, entered the school on
November 14, 1960. A crowd of angry
protesters were waiting for her with profanities, tomatoes, and threats of
physical violence. One woman threatened
to poison her, while another put a black doll in a coffin and held it up for
Ruby to see as she passed by.
But none of the hatred stopped
Ruby attended school every day,
although the school was almost completely empty. All of the white students had been pulled by
their parents, and only one teacher agreed to teach Ruby. And the abuse outside the school continued.
But slowly, as the year continued, change came. Some white families began sending their
children back to the school, and several white families began watching the
Bridges home to make sure it wasn’t vandalized, and even joined the federal
marshalls in escorting Ruby to school.
Today, this courageous woman still lives in New Orleans,
speaks and writes about tolerance, and continues to show us all how beautiful forgiveness
is. She is a woman of amazing grace.
Ruby Bridges is a hero you
should know. And I'm Dr. Ross Porter.