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Ruby Bridges Community Celebrates "Ruby Bridges Day"
Posted 11/19/21

Students, staff, and families at Ruby Bridges Elementary School celebrated “Ruby Bridges Day” this past Wednesday with short speeches and a ceremonial walk past a statue of Ms. Bridges and into their schoolyard.

Ruby Bridges, after whom the school is named, was the first student to desegregate William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans in 1960. Although five African American students were chosen to go to the all-white school, the six-year-old Ruby was the only one who actually attended.

Due to hostility and threats made by white community members, Ruby and her mother had to be escorted by federal marshals every day. Only one teacher – Miss Barbara Henry – was willing to teach the little girl, so Ruby was in a class by herself and ate lunch alone for the entire year.

But “six-year-old Ruby did not back down, even though her father lost his job,” Board President Jennifer Williams said in her remarks. “She didn’t back down when her grandparents lost their land.  And she didn’t back down when people said mean things to her.  “And because she didn’t back down, she made our world a better place.”

Principal Danielle Pharr-Matthews and Superintendent Pasquale Scuderi both also emphasized the bravery that Ruby showed and the bravery that all of us in the AUSD community have demonstrated over the past 18 months. “Your teachers have been caring and loving and teaching you all through this pandemic even though some have been going through a lot,” Superintendent Scuderi said. “That’s going to continue for the rest of this year as continue to have in-person school.”

At its public meeting on November 9, AUSD’s Board of Education approved a proclamation declaring November 14 “Ruby Bridges Day” in Alameda in honor of the first day she attended William Frantz Elementary School. You can read the full resolution here.