“Although she lived mere blocks away from an all-white elementary school, segregation forced Ruby Bridges to travel for miles every day to attend an all-black kindergarten. Then, in 1960, Bridges was thrust into the national spotlight at the tender age of 6, as the first black child to racially integrate an all-white elementary school in the South. The move came less than a decade after the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education ruling struck down school segregation.
Reactions to her presence, and to the idea of school desegregation generally, precipitated protests that came with threats of violence. Bridges and her mother had to be escorted to the school by federal marshals because other officials in the area weren’t willing to protect her. Despite the racist backlash, Bridges and her family held firm, helping pave the way for other students who would follow in her path. Now, decades later, she still publicly speaks about her experience.”