The Problem We All Live With by Norman Rockwel...

The Problem We All Live With by Norman Rockwell, depicting Bridges as she goes to school (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When the segregation of schools ended in the early 1960’s, a single 6-year-old girl, Ruby Bridges, was chosen to be the first black girl to attend a previously all-white elementary school in New Orleans.

Her attendance was met with vitriol and an unbelievable amount of hatred by locals who paraded in front of the school with placards, yelling and screaming at this delightful little girl.  One woman had a black doll that she had made a coffin for, which she would taunt little Ruby with.  Another protester threatened to poison her, a threat that was taken so seriously that she was ordered to only eat food that she had brought from home.

The protests were so extreme that Federal Marshalls were required to escort her to and from the school and to add fuel to the fire, only one teacher at the school was willing to have her in class.

That teacher, Barbara Henry, urged Ruby not to speak with the protesters, so she was surprised when she saw Ruby’s lips moving as she walked past the screaming crowd one day on her walk through the crowd.

“Why did you talk to them when I told you not to?” the teacher.

“I didn’t talk to them .” responded Ruby.

“Don’t you lie to me, Ruby Bridges, I saw your lips moving.” chided Henry.

“I wasn’t talking to them, I was praying for them.  I wanted God to forgive them, because they don’t know what they’re doing.”

What an extraordinary little girl.

Thrust unwillingly into the national spotlight and the target of an insane amount of hatred that no person, much less a 6 year-old, should have to live with.

And she walks by with grace, dignity and prayers of forgiveness.

Now, that’s inspirational!

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