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By Greg Tucker

Ruby Bridges’ walk to school became a symbol of the Civil Rights struggle 
In 1960, 6-year-old Ruby Bridges’ daily walk to class took her past an angry mob and into Civil Rights history when she became the first African American child to attend an all-white elementary school in the South.
Though she only lived five blocks from her new school, Ruby previously attended an all-black segregated school several miles away. After the Louisiana State Legislature exhausted all its options in a long battle against a federal court order to integrate the schools, Ruby was allowed to attend the classes near her home.
“I understood it was important but it didn’t hit me until I saw that Norman Rockwell painting. And I realize that it wasn’t something that just happened in New Orleans but it was something that people all across the country, all around the world actually, recognized, especially through the painting.” -Ruby Bridges
Each day, Ruby was escorted to the William Frantz School by federal marshals who ensured her safe arrival. Her first year at the school was tumultuous to say the least, and many white parents refused to allow their children to attend classes as long as Ruby was there. She also had to continue to navigate the mob every day, and endure threats to herself and her family.
But Ruby’s trials were eased by the kindness of Barbara Henry, the only white teacher who agreed to work with her at William Frantz.
An interview with a reporter when Bridges was 17 or 18 brought home the significance of her walk past a throng of angry protesters.
“I understood it was important but it didn’t hit me until I saw that Norman Rockwell painting. And I realize that it wasn’t something that just happened in New Orleans but it was something that people all across the country, all around the world actually, recognized, especially through the painting.
“And I always say that the lesson I took away was a lesson that Dr. King tried to teach all of us — and that was we should never look at a person and judge them by the color of their skin.”
In light of recent events, Ruby’s story is a reminder that it only takes a few people to come together and create the change that can help heal our nation’s deepest wounds.
Watch the video below and learn more as Ruby Bridges tells her story, discusses the kindness of Henry, and how her experience relates to Dr. Martin Luther King’s message of racial equality.

Learn more about the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service at MLKDay.gov
Pledge to serve — take the MLK Day Challenge

Keywords: MLK Day, Ruby Bridges, Education, United We Serve
If you took a snapshot of Americans' volunteer service, what would it look like? What work would attract the most volunteers? Will Boomers be able to teach Millennials a thing or two about helping others? And should you look north, south, east, or west to find the state that spends the most doing it?
I was inspired early in life to try to make a mark on the world. And even though I'm a bit of a natural caretaker -- working as a lifeguard and even helping find jobs for folks suffering from traumatic brain injury -- meetings and organizations just weren't my style.
National Volunteer Week, April 15-21, is a chance for Americans to recognize the volunteers within their community. Here on the Serve.gov blog, that's exactly what we hope to do with our posts this week.Today, this Wordless Wednesday features photos of all kinds of volunteers. Do you have a favorite volunteering photo? Share it with us on the Facebook!
Good news. A recent LinkedIn survey found that 41 percent of professionals considered volunteer work as much as paid work when evaluating job candidates. Now here’s the bad news: Slightly less than half of the 89 percent who had volunteer experience included it on their resumes. That’s a mistake -- put your volunteer experience to work for you.
It's an old saying and a profound truth that it is better to give than to receive. During National Volunteer Week, April 15-21, we celebrate the millions of Americans who volunteer and recognize the extraordinary benefits of service to individuals, communities, and our nation.
On Monday, I joined the Corporation for National and Community Service as CEO. It’s been a great first week on the job.
Having just wrapped up National AmeriCorps Week, another big week for celebrating service is on the horizon: National Volunteer Week. Happening April 15-21, 2012, National Volunteer Week is an opportunity for nonprofit organizations and national service members and alumni to be recognized and celebrated for their efforts. It's also an opportunity of AmeriCorps Alums to tell their story of service, and shine a light on the value of national service in our nation.
Last year, 64.3 million Americans gave their time in service. These volunteers spent hours in schools and shelters, hospitals and hotlines, and faith-based and community-groups. They are the everyday heroes who show up day in, day out and make a difference for millions of women and men around the world.
Today, Wendy Spencer begins her first day as new Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service. While you'll hear more from Wendy in the coming weeks, we wanted to help you get to know her a bit better. Learn more about Wendy and the service experiences that shaped her life with this video below.
Every day, researchers, policymakers, teachers, counselors, and business leaders continue to make the case for the importance of earning a high school diploma and obtaining some post-secondary study. For young adults who drop out of high school, their options and future earning potential become extremely limited. Sadly, 1-in-6 young adults are completely isolated from school and work – and are less likely to become the independent, productive citizens needed to help our nation grow.
Everyone has a story, as the saying goes, and the Corporation for National and Community Service wants to hear ones about the most innovative leaders and programs that are making a difference in our communities. If you know of one, it's time to nominate them for the 2012 National Service Impact Awards.
These words sit at the heart of my father's tireless efforts to advocate for change. He believed that protection from the hazards of pesticides; fair wages and improved working conditions were not achievable if not founded upon an improvement in the overall well-being of the community.
National service leaders, social entrepreneurs, thought leaders, and innovators from across the country will converge in Chicago for the National Conference on Volunteering and Service (NCVS), sponsored by the Points of Light Institute, June 18-20, 2012, to exchange ideas about and share solutions to some of the nation's toughest problems.
The Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO), a New York City-based Social Innovation Fund (SIF) grant recipient, recently won Harvard University's noteworthy Kennedy School of Government Innovations in American Government Award for its powerful approach to fighting poverty in New York and across the country.
AmeriCorps Week, held this year March 10 to 18, is traditionally an opportunity for the Corporation for National and Community Service and AmeriCorps grantees to celebrate members in service and build community awareness for the impact of AmeriCorps. In recent years, it has also been an opportunity for AmeriCorps Alums, Points of Light's enterprise engaging alumni of national service, to accentuate their passion for service and their continued commitment to a lifetime in service.
The Service News Digest is a regular feature on the Serve.Gov blog. In this series, we showcase news highlights that feature national service and Corporation for National and Community Service programs. Take a look at some of the great stories that had people talking recently.
Growing up, I had dreams of what my future would look like. But reality taught me that achieving a dream and building a future is a learning process and can't be done alone.
My grandmother lived in Texas, and she would remind me that everything was bigger there -- including their hearts. The work of one person, empowered by a Corporation for National and Community Service program, demonstrates how thousands of people are making a Texas-sized impact on the lives of our nation's veterans.
Today, to celebrate AmeriCorps Week, I served with a group of volunteers – including five enthusiastic AmeriCorps members – at a Habitat for Humanity build site in Washington, DC.
On a daily basis, the employees of the Federal Emergency Management Agency look into the eyes of disaster survivors and convey a calm strength and compassion to assist them on the road to recovery from disasters. Similarly conveying strength and resolve to make our nation stronger are the thousands of Americans who are part of AmeriCorps and the Corporation for National and Community Service.
I began my AmeriCorps journey when I was recruited into the program by the Community Action Agency in Annapolis, MD. My first job was to create a mentoring system for families of Head Start students. The next year, I continued serving in the program by training others in mentoring as a regional coordinator, and I returned for a third year with AmeriCorps to lead the program as a state coordinator with Volunteer Maryland.
National service is one of America's most hallowed traditions. As Alexis De Tocqueville noted in 1835, we are a nation of joiners. Ours is a country where people take collective action for the good of all.
A new chapter in the history of national service began today with the announcement of a partnership with FEMA to strengthen the nation's ability to respond to and recover from disasters and expand career opportunities for young people. The five-year agreement provides for an additional 1,600 AmeriCorps NCCC members annually to supplement our current NCCC force.
Year-round AmeriCorps Alums, the national network for all alumni of national service, seeks to positively support and impact the professional life of its members. It is fitting tribute then that this year's AmeriCorps Week theme is AmeriCorps Works, perfectly aligning with the mission of AmeriCorps Alums.
Earlier this week, Chief of Program Operations, Idara Nickelson, accompanied Kelly DeGraff, Senior Advisor for Disaster Services on a tour of disaster areas throughout Missouri -- Joplin, Branson, and Kimberling City. Her first time at a disaster site, she snapped the above photo and had this to say:
More than a quarter of Colorado's third-graders are not reading at grade level, a concerning statistic as early childhood literacy is one of the most important predictors of school success and high school graduation. Stakeholders across diverse sectors including federal, state, and local governments, educators, nonprofits, business leaders, and foundations have teamed up to improving childhood literacy as a top priority for the state.
African American History Month has ended, and while the official celebration is over, our contributions to society don't end on any given particular day. Likewise, our African American service members continue to contribute and make history, even after they take off their uniforms for the last time.
Last week, I joined a community conversation organized by the United Way of the Bay Area. It was one of five forums in my region, of more than 100 gatherings in 30 cities across the country this spring. These events are bringing together local leaders, youth, and citizens to map out a plan to help young people find paths to economic independence.
Every four years, we're given one extra day, a leap day. That's 24 extra hours to spend however you wish. Why not spend a few of those hours making a difference?
Service has many meanings. To a member of the Armed Forces, service is duty, pride, and honor. Those of us who wear – or have worn – the uniform have a deep sense of conviction and purpose.

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