February is almost over, as is Black History month. It’s been a crazy month for me, which is why this post is happening when the month has only a few hours left. I wanted to draw attention to a significant figure in history who I’ve always found to be hugely inspiring. I dressed Daphne up as Ruby Bridges, a black girl who attended an all-white elementary school in New Orleans in 1961 as a result of new integration laws. She had to walk to school each day escorted by federal marshals to protect her from the violent protestors. She sat in the classroom all alone, as no parents would send their children to school with her. There was only one teacher in the school building who agreed to teach her.
Her story was made into a picture book and I remember my mom reading it to me when I was a kid. That story had a huge impact on me. I was shocked, in my sheltered little life, that there were people in the world who were so hateful. I was floored that Ruby, a little first grader, was so wise and patient. Not only did she go to school each day despite the evil she faced on the street, she prayed to God that he forgive those people for the terrible things they said and did.
This picture from the book shows her praying and compares the illustration to the outfit I put together:
Ruby was able to eat only food she brought from home, because people threatened to poison her.
One of the most incredible things about this story to me is that it wasn’t really that long ago. This happened in the living memory of many people around today. I think the world has made a lot of progress in tolerance and open-mindedness, but still has a long ways to go.