A long time ago, black children and white children could not go to the same school.
This is called Segregation.
The United States government said: ‘Segregation is wrong.’
People should live where they want.
People should eat where they want.
Children should go to school where they want.
In 1960 Ruby Bridges lived in America and she went to nursery in a school for black children.
She liked her school.
She liked her teacher.
She liked her friends.
But there was a school for white children even closer to her house than the school for black children.
It was called the William Frantz Elementary School.
The Government said, ‘Ruby Bridges should be allowed to go to the William Frantz Elementary School.
In 1961 Ruby Bridges started first grade, which is like our reception class.
Her mother took her for the first day and the police went with them to make sure they were kept safe.
Some people did not want a black child to do to the white school.
They stood near the school. They yelled at her to go away.
Angry white crowd
Parents took their children out of the school.
Ruby was alone with her teacher, Mrs Henry.
She loved Mrs Henry and Mrs Henry loved her. She was a good student, but she wished the children would come back.
After a few months the children came back to school.
At last she had friends to play with. She was very happy.
Now black children and white children can go to the same schools because Ruby Bridges was so brave.
She is still alive today. She visits schools and tells her story to children.
She tells children that black and white people can be friends but most of all she tells them that children can be kind to each other.
Norman Rockwell the Artist painted pictures of Ruby Bridges
In 1963 Rockwell confronted the issue of prejudice head-on with one of his most powerful paintings–”The Problem We All Live With.” Inspired by the story of Ruby Bridges and school integration, the image featured a young African-American girl being escorted to school amidst signs of protest and fearful ignorance. The painting ushered in a new era in Rockwell’s career, and remains an important national symbol of the struggle for racial equality.