November 14, 1960 was the first day of first grade for Ruby and a memorable date in American history. Ruby was the only African American student to attend William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans. She was the only one of six other students who lived in her neighborhood and were given the choice to change schools who dared to take this chance.
This painting is now currently hanging on the White House walls.
On the morning of the first day of school, Ruby and her mother were escorted by four federal marshals because the local and other federal officials were not willing to protect her. She walked past crowds of people screaming vicious and derogatory things at her. However, this did not frighten her: what did frighten her was a woman holding a black baby doll in a coffin.
When Ruby entered the school, she sat in the principal’s office, where she remained all day due to chaos throughout the school. Sweetly innocent, Ruby thought that the crowds and chaos were because of Marti Gras.
Source & read more: Ruby Bridges – National Women’s History Museum
Ruby Bridges – Norman Rockwell Painting at the White House Ruby Bridges visited President Barack Obama to see Norman Rockwell’s painting hanging outside of the Oval Office. The painting depicts her walk to school on the day of school integration in New Orleans. Video courtesy of the White House below
In 2001, Ruth Simmons made history when she became the first African-American president of an Ivy League university, as well as Brown University’s first female president. Prior to this appointment, she served as the first African-American female president of a major college or university when she took the reins at Smith College in 1995. Yet growing up, Simmons had much more modest ambitions. “I had one goal,” she recalls, “if only I could one day work in an office, because every woman that I knew was a maid… The farthest I could think was working in an office. That was it.
Simmons began her prodigious journey on a sharecropping farm in Texas, the youngest of 12 children. She attended Dillard University on scholarship and spent her junior year at Wellesley College, where she encountered President Margaret Clapp who opened her eyes to the possibility of women in leadership. Graduating Dillard in 1967, she studied in France on a Fulbright fellowship, and went on to earn a Ph.D. in Romance languages from Harvard.
Read and watch more: http://www.makers.com/ruth-simmons
Beverly Guy-Sheftall is a Black feminist scholar, writer and editor, who is the Anna Julia Cooper Professor of Women’s Studies and English at Spelman College, in Atlanta, Georgia