Civil rights pioneer Ruby Bridges says the country today looks a lot like it did 54 years ago.
She says the country is a nation with segregated schools and racial tension.
“You almost feel like you’re back in the ‘60s,” said Bridges, who is now 60 years old. “The conversation across the country, and it doesn’t leave out New Orleans, is that schools are reverting back” to being segregated along racial lines, she said. “We all know that there are schools being segregated again.”
On Nov. 14, 1960, Bridges — then 6 years old — became the first black student to attend a previously all-white elementary school in New Orleans.
On Friday — 54 years later to the day when she first walked up the steps to William Frantz Elementary School — she commemorates that event with the unveiling of a statue in her likeness at her old school. Also, she is reuniting with the white teacher who taught her and with the sole-surviving U.S. marshal who walked her to school. Her mother, who was adamant about sending her daughter to the all-white school, will be at the reunion too.
Bridges pointed to the tense events in Ferguson, Missouri as the most recent example of the painful reality of today’s racism. The revelations about racist comments made by owners in the NBA and the fact that so many schools in America have failed to become racially mixed are also among her examples that there’s more work to be done.
Bridges says that while racism was a problem before President Barack Obama’s election, his presidency has fueled it. For nearly 20 years, Bridges has become a speaker at schools across the nation. She tells students her story, and speaks out against bullying.
We can all agree that things need to get A LOT better.
Do you think Ms. Bridges has a point?
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