How Was Ruby Bridges Like When She Was a Kid?


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Ruby Bridges describes herself in her autobiography "Through My Eyes" as being initially unaware of the controversy over her attending the William Frantz Public School as a first-grader and the first black student. She reports being initially unafraid, but as time passed, she had nightmares and could not eat.

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Bridges states that she did not connect the racism she experienced to the color of her skin until the end of first grade, when a white boy refused to play with her. She spent most of her time in first grade in isolation and reports that she became fixated on the idea that other students were hiding in the cafeteria. Her closest and only companion at school was Barbara Henry, her teacher.

Before she attended William Frantz, Bridges and other black children went to the Johnson Lockett Elementary School. Although the school was far away from her home, she reports that other children kept her company and that she did not feel lonely then. In the late spring of her kindergarten, the school administered tests to its black students. She later learned that this test had determined her eligibility for William Frantz, and that the test had been made especially difficult in hopes of failing every student and preventing integration.

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