Ruby Bridges is a Civil Rights icon, activist, author and speaker who at the age of six was the first Black student to integrate an all-white elementary school in Louisiana. She was born in Mississippi in 1954, the same year the United States Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision ordering the integration of public schools. Her family later moved to New Orleans, where on November 14, 1960, Bridges began attending William Frantz Elementary School, single-handedly initiating the desegregation of public education. Her walk to the front door of the school was immortalized in Norman Rockwell’s painting The Problem We All Live With, in Robert Coles’ book The Story of Ruby Bridges, and in the Disney movie Ruby Bridges.
She established the Ruby Bridges Foundation to provide leadership training programs that inspire youth and community leaders to embrace and value the richness of diversity. Bridges is the recipient of numerous awards, including the NAACP Martin Luther King Award, the Presidential Citizens Medal, and honorary doctorate degrees from Connecticut College, College of New Rochelle, Columbia University Teachers College, and Tulane University. Bridges is also the author of Through My Eyes, This Is Your Time, I Am Ruby Bridges, and Dear Ruby, Hear Our Hearts, releasing January, 2024.