They are not well-known to the world. Many have never heard of their valiant struggle. But, Mrs. Lucille Bridges, and her daughter Ruby Bridges, have contributed a profound impact on the desegregation of public schools in America.
Lucille Bridges looking at the original Norman Rockwell painting showing her daughter Ruby Bridges going to school when it was on display in the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston in 2006. The painting is now at the Detroit Institute of Art.
Ruby Bridges, at six years of age.
Here is a news story from Channel 11 KHOU that reminds the world that it is oftentimes the quiet and soft-spoken who create the most dramatic changes that affect us all.
HOUSTON WOMAN, DAUGHTER PLAYED HISTORICAL ROLE IN CIVIL RIGHTS BATTLE
11:28 AM CST on Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Courtney Zubowski / 11 News
HOUSTON – A popular Norman Rockwell painting hangs on the wall in Lucille Bridges’ living room. It’s called the “Problem We All Live With.” The painting means a great deal to the 74-year-old woman.
“It really brings back memories from that day,” said Bridges.
To Lucille, the girl in the painting is not just the first African American student in New Orleans to go to a formerly all white school. That six-year-old girl is her daughter, Ruby.
“If you would have been there to see it, it was really horrible,” said Bridges.
The painting was done in November 1960.
“They were saying two-four-six-eight, we don’t want to integrate,” said Bridges.
Federal marshalls escorted the then youn mother and her daughter into William Frantz’s Elementary School while bystanders shouted obscenties and threw tomatoes.
“They were a bunch of ignorant people who were hollering and screaming over a six-year-old going to school. That’s the way I felt about it,” said Bridges.
The hollering went on for about a year. Lucille’s husband lost his job and parents of the white students pulled their children out of school.
However, Lucille never gave in.
“If I would have to do it all over again, I would. I wanted everything better for my kids than it was for me,” said Lucille.
Since then, things have gotten better. Lucille says she is proud to have played a role in the civil rights movement.
Just recently she did something she thought would be impossible in her lifetime.
Right next to the Norman Rockwell painting, she hung another image proving that the country has come a long way. It’s a picture of Barack Obama.
She said there is still a lot of work to be done, but it’s a start.
Bridges daughter, Ruby, is a motivational speaker who still lives in New Orleans. She planned to attend the inauguration in Washington, D.C.
SOURCE: Khou Channel 11 news
Norman Perceval Rockwell (1894-1978) “The Problem We All Live With”, 1963, Look, January 1964 Story Illustration Oil on Canvas 36 x 58 inches Collection of the Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge Massachusetts