President Obama Meets Ruby Bridges: Norman Rockwell’s Painting Of Bridges Hangs In the White House

                                                 THE PROBLEM WE ALL LIVE WITH

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In Spring 1960, Ruby Bridges was one of several African-Americans in New Orleans to take a test to determine which children would be the first to attend integrated schools. Six students were chosen, however, two students decided to stay at their old school, and three were transferred to Mcdonough. Ruby was the only one assigned to William Frantz. Her father initially was reluctant, but her mother felt strongly that the move was needed not only to give her own daughter a better education, but to “take this step forward … for all African-American children.”[4]

The court-ordered first day of integrated schools in New Orleans, November 14, 1960, was commemorated by Norman Rockwell in the painting The Problem We All Live With.[5] As Bridges describes it, “Driving up I could see the crowd, but living in New Orleans, I actually thought it was Mardi Gras. There was a large crowd of people outside of the school. They were throwing things and shouting, and that sort of goes on in New Orleans at Mardi Gras.”[5] Former United States Deputy Marshal Charles Burks later recalled, “She showed a lot of courage. She never cried. She didn’t whimper. She just marched along like a little soldier, and we’re all very proud of her.”[6]

As soon as Bridges got into the school, white parents went in and brought their own children out; all teachers refused to teach while a black child was enrolled. They hired Barbara Henry, from Boston, Massachusetts, to teach Bridges, and for over a year Mrs. Henry taught her alone, “as if she were teaching a whole class.” That first day, Bridges and her adult companions spent the entire day in the principal’s office; the chaos of the school prevented their moving to the classroom until the second day. Every morning, as Bridges walked to school, one woman would threaten to poison her,[7] because of this, the U.S. Marshals dispatched by President Eisenhower, who were overseeing her safety, only allowed Ruby to eat food that she brought from home. Another woman at the school put a black baby doll in a wooden coffin and protested with it outside the school, a sight that Bridges Hall has said “scared me more than the nasty things people screamed at us.” At her mother’s suggestion, Bridges began to pray on the way to school, which she found provided protection from the comments yelled at her on the daily walks.[8today

Ruby Bridges, now Ruby Bridges Hall, still lives in New Orleans. For 15 years she worked as a travel agent, later becoming a full-time parent to her four sons. She is now chair of the Ruby Bridges Foundation, which she formed in 1999 to promote “the values of tolerance, respect, and appreciation of all differences”. Her parents later divorced. Describing the mission of the group, she says, “racism is a grown-up disease and we must stop using our children to spread it.”[

This entry was posted in Current Events, Democracy, Education, Good News!, History, Honor, Inspiration, Love, Media, Politics, President Obama, Racism and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to President Obama Meets Ruby Bridges: Norman Rockwell’s Painting Of Bridges Hangs In the White House

    • Yahtc says:

      This video says it all…….the history of benefits only for Whites, not Blacks, in our country with its institutional racism.

      And, institutional racism still is creeping around trying to choke out Blacks.

      White privilege with its resulting benefits and advantages exists in our White power structured society. This is so very wrong!

  1. Ametia says:

    You can veiw parts 1-9 from the link above

  2. Pingback: The Norman Rockwell I Didn’t Know | Callie Garp

  3. Pingback: Are You Prepared… for the Unthinkable?: Part 1: Duck and Cover | Prophecy Panic Button

  4. Ametia says:


    Extreme reaction to word racist. Normally the worst insult which an extreme racist can receive is to be called a racist in public. For the extreme racist it is infuriating because there is no adequate response. On the one hand he does not really want to deny it but he knows that the implications of this word are generally negative. It is not like being called stupid or ignorant, because it is difficult for him to counterattack by simply reverting the accusation. The idea that a member of the other race could look down upon the race of the racist normally challenges the model that the racist has about this other race (he typically sees it as weak, timid and cowardly). If he attempts to ridicule the other person he will publicly prove the original accusation correct.

    No insight into own prejudice. It is common for racists to have no insight into their own prejudice. This is because they believe their prejudice to be based upon objective grounds.

    • ALL OF THIS!

      • Ametia says:

        We need to order a few cases for the DUMMIES.

        You know how it is. You’re enjoying yourself, kicking back and relaxing at the pub or maybe at the library; or maybe you’re in class or just casually surfing the internet, indulging in a little conversation. The topic of the conversation is about a pertinent contemporary issue, probably something to do with a group of people who fall outside your realm of experience and identity. They’re also probably fairly heavily discriminated against – or so they claim.

        The thing is, you’re having a good time, sharing your knowledge about these people and their issues. This knowledge is incontrovertible – it’s been backed up in media representation, books, research and lots and lots of historical events, also your own unassailable sense of being right.

        Yet all of a sudden something happens to put a dampener on your sharing of your enviable intellect and incomparable capacity to fully perceive and understand All Things. It’s someone who belongs to the group of people you’re discussing and they’re Not Very Happy with you. Apparently, they claim, you’ve got it all wrong and they’re offended about that. They might be a person of colour, or a queer person. Maybe they’re a woman, or a person with disability. They could even be a trans person or a sex worker. The point is they’re trying to tell you they know better than you about their issues and you know that’s just plain wrong. How could you be wrong?

        Don’t worry though! There IS something you can do to nip this potentially awkward and embarrassing situation in the bud. By simply derailing the conversation, dismissing their opinion as false and ridiculing their experience you can be sure that they continue to be marginalised and unheard and you can continue to look like the expert you know you really are, deep down inside!


        Just follow this step-by-step guide to Conversing with Marginalised People™ and in no time at all you will have a fool-proof method of derailing every challenging conversation you may get into, thus reaping the full benefits of every privilege that you have.

  5. Darrell Rotenberry says:

    As long as we forget to teach lessons learned from the past, we are going to make the same mistake. However, if we teach our children that they are victims and will always be victims, victims are all they’re ever going to be…. is this what we should teach our children that if someone disagrees with a person of another “race” is because that person is merely a racist and has no valid disagreement, then victimhood status will remain and fester.

    • Ametia says:

      Darrell, what are you referring too about teaching “our children” that they are victims? Please elaborate.

      • Darrell Rotenberry says:

        These words were written by Marion on one of her postings here: “Our prisons are filled primarily with blacks, yet we comprise only 12% of the population.”
        Whose fault is that? Not mine, not yours, just those who chose to committ crime and refuse to take responsibility for personal choices and behavior only to divert attention by saying it’s somebody else’s fault, I’m the victim…..

      • Ametia says:

        Nowhere in Marion’s comment did she divert attention by saying it’s somebody else’s fault.
        You do the crime, you do the time.

        The point is black people aren’t the only folks living in America and commiting crimes, yet they are 10 times more likely to be imprisoned than white criminals.

        Would you agree their are disparities in the rate of crimes reported about are black men?
        Just because a criminal doesn’t get locked up, doesn’t mean he isn’t a criminal.

    • Darrell,

      This OUR history and I’ll be damned if people like you think they’re going to erase it. Hell to the No. This little 6 year old black girl suffered horrific racism from grown ass people. If you think 3Chics is going to ignore that then you’re out of your fking mind.

      3Chics is HONORING African American History because the MSM damn sure WON’T tell the truth. This little BRAVE 6 year old girl had the COURAGE to walk with her head held high while grown people threw tomatoes and yell NIGGER at her. THAT happened! We here are going to HONOR her courage & bravery. You NOR anyone else will tell us to stop. Got it?

      • Ametia says:

        …All while Ruby was being called a NIGGER. That’s what’s got Darrell so riled up. they can’t handle the truth, but want to run up in here and shout black are playing victimhood. Typical racist..

      • Darrell Rotenberry says:

        So the 52% of black men in prison are victims of a racist system?
        And yes what the people who took on the system in the 50s and 60s and those before even worse, yes that was horrific and should never have happend. It did. All we can do is learn from it and move on…. but to say that just because of this is that as in having a valid disagreement with the president is racism, or the 52% of criminals are locked up simply because of pigmentation of skin…. I do not believe that. It’s just a continuation of a “victimhood status.” Believe what you want, I don’t care. But if a fundamental shift in thinking isn’t reached, I fear the consequences.

      • but to say that just because of this is that as in having a valid disagreement with the president is racism, or the 52% of criminals are locked up simply because of pigmentation of skin…. I do not believe that.

        How did President Obama get into this discussion about Ruby Bridges? Yes, Darrell, 52 % of black men are in prison simply because they’re BLACK. It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe it. Facts is a pesky bitch, isn’t it? But do the research and check it for yourself.

      • Ametia says:

        Darell you need to MOVE ON. We’re not going anywhere and will post the TRUTH as we’ve LIVED it. Bye!

  6. Ametia says:

    I’m listening to Ruby Bridges speak about her upbringing again, and each time I listen, it reminds me of how today some folks are still stuck in the 18th Century with regards to racism.

    Here we are in the 21st century and a fraction of America is trying to take us back to Jim Crow and slavery. And it this is happening our highest levels of the U.S. government.

    What’s amazingly sad is some of our youth aren’t being taught TRUE AMERICAN HISTORY when it comes to Blacks and other people of color.

    • I concur!

      Racism is like a cancer. It just keeps eating away at the person. It’s a sad thing to see such ugly racism take place at our highest levels of government. And it’s all because our President is black. No other reason. His skin is his sin.

      Marion stated on an article about the Tuskegee Airmen that because of racism many contributions of black Americans have been kept from the History books and not acknowledged at all. We must fight to preserve our History so we can teach our children.

      • Marion says:

        Many thanks to Ametia for this great post. And thank you for mentioning my comment, Julie. It’s been years since I first read this story, but it still moves me to tears and pride today for that brave little girl who held her head high. In 1960, I was 10 years old in California where segregation and this deep racism did not exist at that time. I was just a few years older than Ruby Bridges and could not relate to this racism and treatment she endured. It was only through stories of slavery and Jim Crow that my grandmother shared with me that I learned about this ugly stain in our history. As a teenager, I read African American history books to learn more, since our history is generally not taught in grade school. And what a history it is! Prior to being brought in slaves ships to America, blacks had a rich history that goes back thousands of years. In spite of being torn from our language, families, culture, land and everything we knew, we made great accomplishments in this foreign land. Yes, in spite of. No other peoples in the world has endured our plight as we have — and for this many years. This speaks to our strength. And we are just now really beginning to learn WHO we are.

        America is going through economic hard times today. African Americans have always gone through hard times. However, when white America gets a cold, black America gets pneumonia. We have pneumonia right now and should be in critical care on life support in the hospital. Our prisons are filled primarily with blacks, yet we comprise only 12% of the population. Jobs have been shipped overseas, and while many whites are fighting for what few jobs are available, blacks for the most part aren’t even considered for these jobs. During the good times when loans were given to blacks to buy homes, they were charged higher interest rates than whites. When the economy when bust, blacks lost their homes overwhelmingly more so than whites. And while we are asked — and do — fight in wars to defend our country, our men come home to face racism that is blatantly expressed on TV, radio and on the streets by politicians who know better, and whites whose hatred from hundreds of years of ingrained racism is inflamed.

        Am I painting a depressing enough picture? I hope so. Because I am very worried. I’ve only read and heard about the Great Depression of the 1930s. I never thought I would live to see this happen in my time. Only this time worse. Worse because jobs were created by President FDR back then…and they recovered during the late 1940s and 1950s. But with Republicans fighting Obama and the Democrats tooth and nail to gain power, they are preventing him from creating the many jobs needed to get us on our feet again. And the wealthy refuse to pay taxes while the rest of us limp along paying our taxes and supporting them. And how do they intend to gain power? By stealing the 2012 election and spreading racist fears to whites about blacks. So while the majority of voters want Obama to win, he will need even greater numbers to overcome the stolen elections in each state. We have our work cut out for us.

        What Ruby Bridges, the Tuskegee Airmen and all blacks endured during those long ago years is, in many ways, just as bad today in a different way. And if we fail to act, it will get worse.

        This is the year, 2012, when all African Americans must hold our heads up like Ruby Bridges did. We must get involved in our communities and do everything we can to re-elect President Obama. We must spread the word. This is the year to communicate clearly with one another. Not just through cell phones and the Internet, which is great, but face to face with each other. We must talk to our husbands, wives, children, parents, friends, neighbors, store keepers, teachers, politicians and preachers. We must learn all we can and share what we know.

        Where we see and hear ignorance and lies, we must bring clarity and truth. We must state it with conviction. We have been blessed with a most wonderful President and First Lady. Blessed. Truly. With the dire straits we are in, I can’t help but think this is Divine Intervention. It’s time for all of us to step up to the plate. We do it for ourselves, our families and our nation. We do it for Ruby Bridges and the Tuskegee Airmen. Because if we don’t, their efforts from the past that helped give us a step up, were wasted. We do it for our great President who is giving it his all. He can’t do it by himself. It takes an entire community working together to make it happen.

        And once we get Obama re-elected, we work hard to remove all politicians who do not have our needs at heart. We work to get corruption out of government. And we have an even great task at hand…remove racism once and for all. This is a lifetime process.

        Yes we can. Yes we will. Yes we are!

      • ***Tears****

        This is the year, 2012, when all African Americans must hold our heads up like Ruby Bridges did.

        Marion, you bring tears to my eyes. Beautifully spoken. Little Ruby Bridges teaching & showing us how it’s done. Such a brave little girl!

      • Ametia says:

        You’re mosst welcome, Marion.

        You’re most welcom, Marion, and WELL SAID.

        THIS: “Where we see and hear ignorance and lies, we must bring clarity and truth. We must state it with conviction. ”

        My husband and I had lunch yesterday at an Indian restaurant. I was seated, while my husband parked our car.The waiter brought me water, and we exchanged pleasantries. I asked him how his day going, and he commented. “Oh it’s ok, but not as great as the president, and his vacations.”

        I paused for a moment, and then asked, Oh, how is that? He said I can’t take vacations like the president does. I knew where he was going with his comment. The talking point he’s heard repeatedly, and from the same sources, probably. All I sensed was manufactured resentment for the president. But I don’t think I meeting was by chance. this man really was void of the truth and was seeking some answers.

        So I asked the waiter what he really wanted from the president. I told him every president goes on vacation, but his working stance NEVER changes. He is on the job 24/7/365. He gave me a cheap grin and a chuckle and moved on. Each and every time I hear half-truths, flat out lies, distortions from folks when they are talking to me, I will ask them questions to get to their underlying issue with President Obama. Some folks are just ignorant of the facts.

        The majority of the time it is just plain old fears and racism. they are stuck and don’t know or don’t want to hear different perspective. Basically, they do not want to own their behaviors.

  7. Pingback: President Obama Meets Civil Rights Icon Ruby Bridges | Todd Ragusa Consulting

  8. Ametia says:

    I totally relate to Ruby Bridges’ accounting of not knowing about racism, until it was inacted against her by WHITE ADULTS. In my house, my parents didn’t teach us that whties were better than us, or that we were lesser than any human. We didn’t speak of judging and ocndemning folks black or white.

    Our schools didn’t intergate until I was in 6th grade. There was so much contention between the whites and the county board of ED. Finally, our schools did intergrate, but the girls were seperated from the boys.

    The white fathers were throwing a hissy fit over the fact that their precious whtie daughters would be in the same classroom with those growing, strong black bucks- /snark -boys. Of course we got along fine, it was the parents who held the animosity and hate towards black folks.,

  9. Oh Ametia, this is such a good post! Thank you for posting!

    Former United States Deputy Marshal Charles Burks later recalled, “She showed a lot of courage. She never cried. She didn’t whimper. She just marched along like a little soldier, and we’re all very proud of her.

    What a brave little girl to go through such ugliness from growns up’s hatred and racism. I can understand what Ruby meant by she didn’t know anything about racism because like in my home growing up, racism wasn’t taught to us.

    • Yahtc says:


      I just found this page by clicking the picture in the right column.

      What a superb job you did. I am going to watch the 9 part video program tonight!

      • Ametia says:

        LOL Thank you! Glad you found the post, Yahtc. And I know your time will be well spent watching the videos. This has been one of 3 Chics’ top posts since it was published. Students come here and use the post in their studies.

      • Yahtc says:

        I just finished watching the movie. Great movie!

        How different to be treated to a movie that simply doesn’t present the newsreel facts, but like the movie, The Butler, gives Ruby and her family an identity and representation. We need more movies where the real experience and soul of the African American is honored and represented and no longer placed at an invisible or stereotype level. We need more African American films directed and produced and acted in by African Americans.

        Hollywood executives MUST stop satisfying the racist audience simply to have a larger audience to make more money……racists (as an audience) deserve NO consideration when a movie plot is considered and NO consideration when a movie is edited!

      • Yahtc says:

        How great to hear that you reach students and provide, with this page, help with their research, Ametia!

      • Ametia says:

        I knew you’d appreciate the movie, Yahtc. My girlfiriends and I went to see The Butler again. The second time around’s just as rewarding as the first. And yes, The Ruby Bridges moive depicted black American lives as they lived it, in all it’s complexities.

Leave a Reply