Civil Rights Icon on America’s Racial Divide, Then and Now


In 1960, at the tender age of just 6 years old, Ruby Bridges became a civil rights icon.

Newsreel footage of Bridges entering what had been up until that day an all-white elementary school in New Orleans, flanked by U.S. Marshals protecting her from a baying crowd hurling insults and racial epithets, was seen around the world.

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One of those marshals later recalled, “She showed a lot of courage. She never cried. She didn't whimper. She just marched along like a little soldier. We were all very proud of her.”

It was a moment of historical change and tumult captured forever in Norman Rockwell’s famous painting, “The Problem We All Live With,” for the cover of Look magazine in 1964.


Bridges joins Brandis Friedman to talk about the events of that time as well as her thoughts on the current divisions within American society and politics.

Related event

Ruby Bridges will be speaking on “The Power of Education” at Ravinia Festival in Highland Park on Thursday evening as part of the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Garden Talks series. Click here for details


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