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One of the iconic images of the American Civil Rights Movement era is of the brave little Black girl Ruby Bridges walking into school while crowds of furious White segregations yelled bile, some of them prevented from physically grabbing her only by the presence of Federal marshals.
One of the iconic images of the American Civil Rights Movement era is of the brave little Black girl Ruby Bridges walking into school while crowds of furious White segregations yelled bile, some of them prevented from physically grabbing her only by the presence of Federal marshals. This is where it happened. Part of the less well known backstory is that at the same time, many New Orleans Church schools and progressive private schools were already integrating quietly and with little fuss. The Public School Board, however, was controlled by segregationists. When pushed to integrate by the Federal government, they did all they could to make integration a failure. The School Board mandated that the first 'experiments' with desegregation would be in the neighborhoods with the most opposition to it. Thus the then White working class Upper 9th Ward neighborhood around this elementary school building was selected. Ruby Bridges and her family, however, dealt with the situation with fortitude and quiet dignity. She didn't miss a single day of school that year. She recalled it took about a year for things to calm down. As of 2011, the 3 story Art Deco school building is vacant and surrounded by a chain link fence. By the way, this little square of New Orleans also has another quite different link to history-- right across Alvar Street from the school was the childhood home of Lee Harvey Oswald; it was demolished after being totaled in the Katrina flood.
New Orleans, LA, United States
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