As we celebrate International Women’s day this week, I can’t stop thinking about how much this young girl had to endure just to get an education. Ruby Bridges was one of four girls who passed an exam which entitled them to enter an all white school.
The images of her tiny frame tackling the huge steps of an institution that had denied her community access through the law for generations. Escorted by U.S Marshals she walked silently through the jeering, hostile, hate filled crowd. The dignity and poise of that young child is a message to us all.
When asked years later if she hated the crowd she responded: ‘I wasn’t taught to hate.’ I can only marvel at the parents of this remarkable child who changed history. She gave the credit to her parents for giving her the courage to stand strong.
As if making her way through the banners, the name calling and the intimidation wasn’t bad enough many parents took their children out of the school or refused to allow their children to sit in the same class as her. She had lessons alone; lunch alone and playtime alone. Her teacher remarked she never complained or fell into despair she arrived every morning with a smile on her face and readiness to learn. She seemed to know that the stand she was making was not only for herself and her family but for anyone denied an education because of the colour of their skin.