Picking a school for a child is one of the most fundamental tasks of parenting. Any mother would want her daughter to receive a top-notch education in an environment that is loving and supportive.
But in 1960, when Lucille Bridges had to pick a school for her six-year-old daughter Ruby, the choices were not so clear.
The best educational option was William Frantz Elementary School. But the school was all-White and Ruby was Black, so there was no promise of love and support.
According to New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell, Ruby's father, Abon Bridges, was initially reluctant to send his daughter to Frantz, at the request of the NAACP. But his wife wanted her girl to have the best education possible, and she walked her daughter to school every day — ignoring crowds hurling racist slurs — to show her support and determination.
Ruby Bridges’ bravery was memorialized in a Norman Rockwell painting.
Lucille Bridges, who died this week at 86, was “a Mother of the Civil Rights Movement,” her daughter said.
We now see Lucille Bridges as a woman of historic bravery and dedication. But she was also a mom who wanted something better for her little girl.