As soon as Bridges got into the school, white parents went in and brought their own children out; all teachers refused to teach while a black child was enrolled. They hired Barbara Henry, from Boston, Massachusetts, to teach Bridges, and for over a year Mrs. Henry taught her alone, “as if she were teaching a whole class.” That first day, Bridges and her adult companions spent the entire day in the principal’s office; the chaos of the school prevented their moving to the classroom until the second day. Every morning, as Bridges walked to school, one woman would threaten to poison her;because of this, the U.S. Marshals dispatched by President Eisenhower, who were overseeing her safety, only allowed Ruby to eat food that she brought from home. Another woman at the school put a black baby doll in a wooden coffin and protested with it outside the school, a sight that Bridges Hall has said “scared me more than the nasty things people screamed at us.” At her mother’s suggestion, Bridges began to pray on the way to school, which she found provided protection from the comments yelled at her on the daily walks.
Child psychiatrist Robert Colesvolunteered to provide counseling to Bridges during her first year at Frantz. He met with her weekly in the Bridges home, later writing a children’s book,The Story of Ruby Bridges, to acquaint other children with Bridges’ story.
The Bridges family suffered for their decision to send her to William Frantz Elementary: her father lost his job, and her grandparents, who were sharecroppers in Mississippi, were turned off their land. She has noted that many others in the community both black and white showed support in a variety of ways. Some white families continued to send their children to Frantz despite the protests, a neighbor provided her father with a new job, and local people babysat, watched the house as protectors, and walked behind the federal marshals’ car on the trips to school.
Honestly, never once when I was in school did anyone ever talk about what happened to Ruby after that first day, how horrible her experience was and how horrible people were too her.
I hope all of them suffered greatly at their deaths.
I’m glad this post is going around again so people can understand something about our “post-racial” society.
All those people that threatened this little girl?
Most of them are still alive.
They had children an grand kids they passed their hate too.
They had jobs – like teaching, medicine, banking, law enforcement, real estate – where they could use their leverage over non-white people to make their lives hell.
They could’ve taught their bigoted employees to do the same thing.
Racism doesn’t just go away because you want to think it did, white people and kool-aid sipping negroes.
Racism goes away when you systemically address every facet of it in our society and fucking eradicate it.
And too many of you are too concerned about YOUR feelings to sit down and have that conversation.
So we had to turn it into a lecture, one you’re not listening too, one you didn’t read the materials for before showing up, one you insist on derailing with stupid questions and notions you refuse to challenge.