In 1960, a 6 year old girl, Ruby Bridges became the world symbol of the courage to learn amidst untold intimidation & hate. The US Supreme court had just ordered that all schools be desegregated in the US to allow black children & white ones study together. The American South, the heart of racial segregation could hear none of it.
New Orleans, where Ruby’s parents had settled from Mississipi decided on a plan to keep off the black youngsters & scuttle the court order. They decided to have very difficult entry examinations that black students couldn’t pass to frustrate their efforts to study with white students & the exam was only given to black students. Despite the painfully difficult exams, 6 black children passed, including Ruby.
The examinations body decided Ruby Bridges be admitted to the William Frantz Elementary school to begin her nursery studies. The community, teachers of the school & pupils would hear none of it. When Ruby reported for her first day in nursery school, there were violent riots & people threw objects at her. The following day all parents withdrew their children from the school. All the teachers also withdrew from the school saying they couldn’t teach a black kid. *Except one brave teacher Barbara Henry.*
Realizing that the US State of New Orleans wanted to disobey a court order requiring them to admit black children, President Dwight Eisenhower ordered that Ruby must attend school & sent Federal Marshalls to escort Ruby daily to school. Little did he know, the US soldiers would escort the young 6 year old girl for a record 1 year.