13 Ruby Bridges Facts For Kids

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ByAgkidzone Staff
Updated: Feb 5, 2024


Most of us remember Ruby Nell Bridges as a hero of the black community who rose during the darkest time of the Civil War. But nobody knows what made her a hero, so courageous. So here are 13 interesting ruby bridges facts for kids which will brim your heart with emotions.

1. Ruby Nell Bridges Was The First Child Of The Bridges Family
Born on September 8, 1954, in Tylertown, Mississippi, Ruby Nell Bridges was the firstborn child of the eldest of eight children. Being born in a poor family, she spent most of her time taking care of her younger siblings.


2. Ruby Nell Bridges Moved To New Orleans With Her Family To Start A New Life

Ruby Nell Bridges grew up on a farm in Mississippi with her parents and grandparents. When she was just four, her parents, Abon and Lucille Bridges, shifted to New Orleans to find better work opportunities in the big city.

After arriving, her mother took night jobs and her father worked as a gas station attendant to help support their growing family. Soon, her mother gave birth to two younger brothers and a younger sister.



3. Ruby Nell Bridges Was Picked For Integration

As Ruby Nell Bridges was born in 1954, Brown v. Board of Education eliminated “separate but equal” education for African Americans. Later, the order was not followed or ignored by southern states.

After 2 years, a test was conducted on Arkansas’s African American schoolchildren to find out which student is eligible to be a part of an all-white school. Among them was Ruby Bridges who got selected for the William Frantz Elementary School.

When her father realized that she was going to attend a local white school and begin the integration of both black and white students, he did not support the idea fearing that his daughter would be harmed.

But for her better education, he walked with his daughter on her first day of school.



4. Ruby Nell Bridges Was Assigned 4 Federal Marshalls For Her Safety

Ruby Nell Bridges was the only black student at Frantz School. To keep her safe and secure, drive her to and from school and protect her, four US federal marshals were assigned.

There were always some angry mobs outside her school who did not want her to go to school. One of the marshals also said that she was courageous, tough, and never whimpered or cried.



5. Ruby Nell Bridges’ Parents Had To Get Divorced Due To Pressure

By the end of the year, after Ruby Nell Bridges enrolled in the school, her parents got divorced. By that time, her family was facing reprisals and her father got fired from his job on account of her integration.

Ruby’s father remained jobless for almost 5 years and her grandparents were forced to leave their farm. Thus, her parents got divorced when she was 12.



6. Ruby Nell Bridges’ First Day In School Is Showcased In A Form Of Painting

In the mid-20th century, the Civil Rights Movement brought a fresh change to the United States. The movement began to put a halt to discrimination against African Americans that was existing since the Civil War.

There was a white artist named Norman Rockwell who was famous for his nostalgic views of average America. He drew a portrait of six-year-old Ruby Nell Bridges in a white dress, walking between four US marshals, past the school hallways, clutching the school supplies.

The painting denoted her first day at her school as a first grader strolling past the wall covered with a thrown tomato and racist graffiti. The portrait speaks volumes about discrimination among black and white people.

The story was captured by Norman Rockwell’s artwork The Problem We All Live With and it was installed in the White House when President Obama was serving the nation.



7. Ruby Nell Bridges Was The Only Student In First Grade

Many parents did not allow their kids to attend school, so Ruby was the only student in her first grade. As the school day went by, she and her teacher Barbara Henry became good friends as they studied and worked together.

Sadly, Ruby was not allowed to visit the cafeteria or recess with other students. There were times when a federal marshall had to escort her to the restroom. Later on, parents felt safe and let their kids go back to Frantz School.



8. Ruby Nell Bridges Opened A Foundation In Her Name

In 1999, Ruby Nell Bridges founded a foundation that promotes harmony and understanding among youngsters. The foundation was called the “Ruby Bridges Foundation” to stop racism.

The foundation is located in New Orleans and its purpose is to promote respect and equal treatment to all races or all differences. As the years went by, Ruby continued to work with civil rights causes. She even began a foundation to promote racial harmony and social justice.



9. Ruby Nell Bridges Is An Author

Ruby Nell Bridges took part in various good causes and soon she became an incredible image of the history of the United States.

As of now, she has written 5 books and some of them are Through My Eyes in 1999, I am Ruby Bridges, Ruby Bridges Goes to School: My True Story, This is Your Time, as well as Let’s Read About Ruby Bridges (Scholastic first biographies).



10. In Her Career, Ruby Nell Bridges Has Also Worked As A Travel Agent

After Ruby Nell Bridges graduated from an integrated high school in New Orleans, she continued to live in that city. Later on, she started working as a travel agent.

According to the sources, she was one of the first African Americans to work for American Express in New Orleans. She continued working in the field as a travel agent for fifteen years before becoming a stay-at-home mother.



11. Ruby Nell Bridges Got Married And Gave Birth To Four Sons

In 1993, Ruby Nell Bridges started working at the grade school she attended. There she was working as a parent liaison. Later on, she got married and had four sons while working as a travel agent.

In the mid-1990s, ruby reunited with her first class teacher and began speaking engagements together.



12. Ruby Nell Bridges Received Presidential Honour

In 2001, Ruby Nell Bridges received the Presidential Citizens Medal which was presented by none other than President Bill Clinton. This award is given by the President to those individuals who have performed exemplary deeds of service to the country.

This medal is presented to any citizen who is brave, and courageous, and brings a message of love, faith, and acceptance to a new generation of Americans.

The Presidential Citizens Medal is said to be the second-highest civilian award in the United States. Furthermore, she was among the African- American students to attend an integrated school that had both black and white students.



13. Ruby Nell Bridges Always Conveyed A Strong Message To Younger Generations

There are so many things from the past about Ruby Nell Bridges that have shaped her personality. She has seen and faced a lot, but never backed up.

While she was working as a lecturer, Ruby still portrays her message to kids and adults all over the nation. Her foundation itself was established to promote appreciation, respect, and tolerance through educational programs.



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