In 1960, Ruby Bridges became the first African-American student to attend a formerly all-white public elementary school in the American South. She established the Ruby Bridges Foundation in 1999 to fight racism and prejudice, and continues to impact communities today by sharing her story in educational forums.
Ruby Nell Bridges was born on September 8, 1954, the same year as the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision to desegregate schools. In kindergarten, Bridges was one of many African-American students selected to take a test to determine whether or not they would be allowed to attend an all-white public school. The test was intentionally difficult in order to postpone the integration of schools, but Bridges was one of six students to pass.
On November 14, 1960, federal marshals drove Bridges and her mother five blocks to Frantz School. Upon her arrival, she encountered a jeering mob and was forced to spend the day in the principal's office when the school cancelled classes. She continued to experience direct and indirect racism throughout her time at Frantz School. Despite the difficulties she faced, Bridges persisted in the pursuit of her education, and continues to fight for the civil rights movement today. Her organization, The Ruby Bridges Foundation, seeks to eradicate racism and prejudice through education and inspiration.