Who is Ruby Bridges? Protest over book on girl who experienced racism at 6 dubbed 'pathetic'

The book 'Ruby Bridges Goes to School' faced criticism following the argument that teaching elementary grades about racism in the US isn't appropriate


                            Who is Ruby Bridges? Protest over book on girl who experienced racism at 6 dubbed 'pathetic'
Ruby Bridges was one of the first African American students to integrate New Orleans' all-white public school system at the age of 6 (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

Amid the raging debate over 'Critical Race Theory' being taught or excluded from the school curriculum, a book authored by Ruby Bridges has come under the scanner for being 'too dangerous' for children. 'Ruby Bridges Goes to School' written by Bridges herself, has become a topic of discussion. Bridges is one of the first African American students to integrate New Orleans' all-white public school system at the age of six.

The book 'Ruby Bridges Goes to School' faced criticism following the argument that teaching elementary grades about the darker aspects of racism in United States history isn't appropriate. The book tells the story of an extraordinary little girl who became the first Black person to attend an all-white elementary school in New Orleans. People took to social media and exclaimed that 'if experiencing racism was age appropriate at 5, the story is age appropriate at 5 too'.

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Who is Ruby Bridges?

Born on September 8, 1954, in Tylertown, Mississippi, Bridges was the eldest of the five children born to Abon and Lucille Bridges. Her family moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, when she was four years old. In 1960, when Bridges was six years old, her parents got a request from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and volunteered her to participate in the integration of the New Orleans school system. She was chosen to spend her first-grade year in what had formerly been an all-white elementary school. On November 14, 1960, Bridges was escorted to class by her mother and US marshals due to protests and violent mobs. Bridges published her book 'Ruby Bridges Goes to School' in 2009.

Ruby Bridges (Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Glamour)

Bridges now works as a lecturer and lives with her husband and sons in New Orleans, Louisiana. She is also the chairperson of the Ruby Bridges Foundation, which was formed in 1999 to promote "the values of tolerance, respect, and appreciation of all differences". Describing the mission of the group, she said, "racism is a grown-up disease and we must stop using our children to spread it."

'The story is age appropriate at 5'

People flocked to Twitter in large numbers and expressed anger over 'Ruby Bridges goes to school' being flagged as 'inappropriate to teach' in schools. One user commented, "She was in kindergarten when she integrated the schools. If EXPERIENCING it was age appropriate at 5, the story is age appropriate at 5, too. It’s also a beautiful picture book written for young readers and my diverse classes have never had issue with it at all."

Another wrote, "So....they're literally trying to get Ruby Bridges out of the schools, 61 years AFTER she had to be escorted by federal marshals to integrate the schools. As a 1st grader. I can't even....how are we here?" One tweet read, "The worldview of those banning a book by Ruby Bridges is so fragile, it’s pathetic. It also won’t survive much longer." Another user said, "They want to pretend there wasn't any racism then, so they can pretend they aren't racist now."



 



 



 



 

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