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Ruby Bridges
Ruby Bridges 21 Sept 2010.JPG
Ruby Bridges in 2010
Born September 8, 1954 (1954-09-08) (age 67)
Nationality American
Occupation Philanthropist
US Marshals with Young Ruby Bridges on School Steps
Bridges with U.S. Marshal escort

Ruby Nell Bridges Hall (born September 8, 1954) is an American activist. She is known for being the first black child to attend an all-white elementary school in the South. She went to William Frantz Elementary School.

Early Life

Ruby Bridges was born in Tylertown, Mississippi, to Abon and Lucille Bridges. When she was 4 years old, the family moved to New Orleans, Louisiana. In 1960, when she was 6 years old, her parents allowed her to participate in the integration of the New Orleans school system.


In a 1954 decision, Brown v. Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court made Racial segregation against the law. Ruby was chosen to attend the all-white William Frantz Elementary School. The school board said that black children could attend the first grade if they passed a test. Bridges passed the test. On her first day of school, four U.S. Marshals had to go with her to school. Angry crowds of parents shouted threats at her. For the next six months, the marshals took her to and from her school. People tried to hurt her family. Her father lost his job and her grandparents were thrown off their farm in Georgia. Ruby never missed a day of school that year. The story of her going to a white school is the subject of a Norman Rockwell painting called The Problem We All Live With.

Adult Life

Ruby finished elementary school and graduated from high school. Bridges went on to become a travel agent for American Express. Mrs. Ruby Bridges Hall is married and has four sons. In 1999, she wrote a children's book, "Through My Eyes," telling her story. The same year she started the Ruby Bridges Foundation to promote "the values of tolerance, respect, and appreciation of all differences." She travels and talks to children all over the country.

On January 8, 2001, President Bill Clinton awarded Ruby Bridges the Presidential Citizens Medal. She was one of 28 to receive the medal that day.

Interesting Facts About Ruby Bridges

William Franz Elemetary School NOLA Pauline Galvez 2
William Frantz Elementary School building in 2010
  • Ruby enjoyed jumping rope, climbing trees, and playing softball when she was young.
  • On November 14, her first day at William Frantz Elementary School, she was the only student there.
  • Barbara Henry was the only teacher who agreed to teach Ruby. She began teaching Ruby on her second day of school.
  • Ruby's courageous story can be read to children from the book The Story of Ruby Bridges by Robert Coles.
  • Ruby was one of only six children who passed the entrance test, which was designed to be difficult.

Ruby Bridges quotes

Ruby Bridges (16264182739)
Ruby Bridges speaking at Texas A&M University–Commerce in February 2015
  • "Don't follow the path. Go where there is no path and begin the trail. When you start a new trail equipped with courage, strength and conviction, the only thing that can stop you is you!"
  • "I now know that experience comes to us for a purpose, and if we follow the guidance of the spirit within us, we will probably find that the purpose is a good one."
  • "Racism is a grown-up disease and we must stop using our children to spread it."
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