Monday, February 12, 2007

Ruby Bridges: Through My Eyes

Most of us know the story of Ruby Bridges. The little girl in the Norman Rockwell painting who was the first black student in the all white elementary school in New Orleans. What you may not know is that in 1999, the grown-up Ruby Bridges wrote a stunning children's book about her experiences during the now-famous integration of that school.

I picked up Through My Eyes a few years ago and was completely swept up in the story told by the child who walked through so much hatred every day at 6 years old. Ruby Bridges takes you right back in history and in simple, eloquent text, lets you know what it felt like to be her. Not as an adult looking back, but as a child, right there in the middle of things, bewildered, hopeful, and sometimes scared. It's an absolutely fascinating book that will give any child or adult a fresh and very real perspective on an old story we've probably become too familiar and comfortable with.

To read more on Ruby Bridges and her efforts to promote diversity in her adult life, please visit the Ruby Bridges Foundation website. Ms. Bridges now works with elementary schools to fight intolorance and injustice in the schools. There are some great quotes from kids on the site, like this one from a 4th grade student in Los Angeles:

I used to be rude to people before being in the program. Now, I can start being nice to new people I meet. I also had some racist feelings toward a Latina who had hurt my feelings. When I was angry, the first thought I had was that I didn’t like her because she was Latina, not that she was just mean. Now, I think about not being racist, even when I’m angry.

Now that's real work!

On the Official Ruby Bridges Website you can:
  • View pictures from newspapers during the de-segregation in New Orleans
  • Read articles about Ruby Bridges
  • Get your school involved with Ruby Bridges' new book project!
  • Request school visits or speaking engagements
  • Download a Lori McKenna song about Ruby Bridges

View Norman Rockwell's painting The Problem We All Live With at Wikipedia

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