Civil Rights Movement

Ruby Bridges' School Now Part of Louisiana Civil Rights Trail

At just 6 years old, Ruby Bridges first walked into William Frantz Elementary in New Orleans, desegregating the school.

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AP File

The New Orleans school that was desegregated by a young Ruby Bridges in 1960 officially became a stop on the Louisiana Civil Rights Trail in January.

Bridges, who was 6 years old when she first walked into William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, was represented by members of her family Jan. 12 as Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser and others spoke of her family’s courage in the days of vehement opposition to the desegregation.

“She walked these stairs and not only changed the course of integration in this city, but also the course of history. This is never lost on us as a staff and a student body," Principal Jasmine Graves Black-Clemons said. "We are grateful for her sacrifice."

Four Black children integrated New Orleans schools on Nov. 14, 1960 — three girls entered McDonough 19 school that day as Bridges walked into Frantz. Bridges' walk into the school with federal marshals was immortalized in a famous Norman Rockwell painting.

Nungesser, who as lieutenant governor oversees state tourism, said he took steps to establish a Louisiana Civil Rights Trail after hearing of similar projects in Alabama and Mississippi.

Johnnie R. Turner, a former Tennessee state representative, talks about her experience with implicit segregation on buses and public spaces even after courts have ruled to desegregate.
Copyright AP - Associated Press
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