At the young age of just six years old, Ruby Bridges steps made history and ignited a big part of the civil rights movement in November 1960 when she stepped into school and became the first African American student to integrate an elementary school in the South.
Born on September 8, 1954, Bridges was the oldest of five children for Lucille and Abon Bridges, farmers in Tylertown, Mississippi. When Ruby was two years old, her parents moved their family to New Orleans, Louisiana in search of better work opportunities. Ruby’s birth year was also the same year that the US Supreme Court’s ruled the landmark decision in Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka Kansas, ending racial segregation in public schools.
Just as it was with the emancipation proclamation on slavery, some southern states continued to resist the law. But, a federal court ordered Louisiana to desegregate. The school district created entrance exams for African American students to see whether they could compete academically at the all-white school.