William Frantz Elementary School, New Orleans Louisiana

Ruby Bridges was born during the unfortunate time in which people continued to avidly believe in the concept of “Separate but equal”.  Even though the Supreme Court already came to a “desegregating schools” consensus during Brown v. Board of Education, there were still many people who were hesitant or not in support of this. When Ruby was around the age of 6, she was asked to take a test that would determine if she could attend a white school in New Orleans. These tests were made to be highly difficult to filter out the African Americans from white schools. However, despite the odds, Ruby passed the test and was told she would be able to go to school at William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Despite the initial order that Ruby was to attend school at William Frantz, there were many tactics used to push this back. However, in November, Ruby was finally able to attend school in New Orleans. With a tremendous amount of security and government supervision, in fear of a civil outbreak, Ruby was escorted in the school for her first day. In no way did things go according to plan. She spent the first several days only allowed to sit in the principal’s office. Despite, all hostility and blatant racism, Ruby continued to stay strong and inspire many (Biography.com, 2017).

New Orleans in the 1960s, although around 40% African American, was run purely with the intent to stay as “white” as possible (Nakhoda,2010). Almost all of the main shops were white owned and enforced segregation. Many of these stores as well would not allow African Americans to work there and in some cases, African Americans could not even be severed. It became a dangerous society for the black community to live in New Orleans. There was little to no protection for them as they would try to advocate for equality including sit ins and boycotts. This brings no surprise to how long it took for Ruby to start school in New Orleans. Although progress has been made, there are still many articles written about how many communities in New Orleans remain segregated to this day (Larino,2019).

Biography.com Editors. (2017, April 28). Ruby Bridges. Biography. https://www.biography.com/activist/ruby-bridges

Nakhoda, Z. (2010, January 31). New Orleans citizens boycott for U.S. civil rights, 1960-61. Global Nonviolent Action Database. https://nvdatabase.swarthmore.edu/content/new-orleans-citizens-boycott-us-civil-rights-1960-61

Larino, J., & NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune. (2019, July 12). 8 reasons why New Orleans neighborhoods remain segregated. NOLA.com. https://www.nola.com/news/politics/article_dc95aed0-43fd-5b09-b031-1288b41083cf.html


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