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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
In 2005 I left a successful career in tv advertising to join the staff of A Child's Place of Charlotte, a local 501(c)(3) nonprofit helping to erase the impact of homelessness on children and their education.
To honor the first annual 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance, Rebuilding Together partnered with United We Serve to distribute 50,000 outreach bags filled with energy efficient savings information in 19 states.
A DC resident joins the President and First Lady by honoring the victims of September 11, 2001 through service.
I’ve done everything from coordinating search and rescue activities to cleaning up and carrying out the trash. After a transfer to Hugo, Colorado, my latest unique volunteer opportunity began.
For the first time ever, I felt I was doing something with a purpose and in turn it gave me a sense of worth and meaning. Up until then I had felt like I was a burden to people around me. Whereas at the event, I felt like I meant something to someone and was doing good for those around me. I then immersed myself in volunteer work.
Today, girls face many obstacles. Girls in the Game empowers girls to overcome challenges. Game Day events introduce girls of all ages to different sports and fitness activities while teaching leadership, nutrition, and life-skills.
I am a mentor for the Y-FRIENDz Mentoring Children of Prisoners Program with YMCA Youth & Family Services in San Diego. For the past year and a half I have mentored a now 10-year-old girl who has both parents in and out of prison.
EPA's ENERGY STAR and Boys & Girls Club offer Dallas homeowner a youthful energy check-up.
In Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, local youth groups have stepped up to lead local community renewal efforts.
By tagging on to the President’s initiative and encouraging service this summer, we have engaged people in community service work to help make it a part of the everyday lives of all Americans with a hope that they will make an ongoing commitment to each other, their communities, and volunteer work throughout their lives
This halloween International Hand Foundation a non profit charity focusing on education would like introduce "Treat for Good", a halloween program that has kids reaching out for more than candy but for a life lesson in compassion for a child across the world.
The high cost of energy in rural Alaska prompted a VISTA member serving with the Rural Alaska Community Action Program to look into using the local hot springs as an energy source.
The adjustment from Brooklyn to Ajo, AZ was made easier when Maria embraced her responsibility to her community and herself.
I have been battling some medical conditions. I use to be flat in bed for five and a half and now live with daily chronic pain. However, I have been sending all handwritten letters to the troops since Nov. 2000.
It started with one woman’s belief that helping kids learn to read would make a difference. A flight attendant flying for one of the major airline carriers on 9/11, LeeAnn Butler-Owens was prompted by the loss of friends and coworkers to examine her part in making the world a better place. By combining her interest in early childhood development with a love of music and the arts, Butler-Owens started by developing a children’s musical audio book.
Tay-bandz, an nonprofit organization founded by a young cancer patient, raises public awareness about childhood cancer and funds for research.
Creating a New Path is a Learn and Serve America sub grantee at CASMAN Alternative Academy in Manistee, Michigan. Students at the school recognized a need for a better place to walk dogs instead of down a dirt road.
I became certified as a Guardian ad Litem in Marion County, Florida in April 2009. In case you are not familiar, guardians are volunteers that are appointed to cases where children have been removed from their homes by DCF due to abuse/safety conditions. It is our job to be the voice for the children in the courts and advocate for them.
October has been a milestone in our Chapters history with the signing of a "COMMUNITY COVENANT" by our Chapters 1st Vice President, John Snyder, and the Commanders of American Legion Posts 129;316.233; VFW Post 3270; and FRA 290, along with the Mayors of Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach and Atlantic Beach.
Twenty-five Foster Grandparent volunteers in Hamilton, Bradley and McMinn counties participated in an educational campaign to share basic character traits with students in their classrooms.
Jobs and homes have been lost, but if Dr. Alan Singer can help it marriages will not be lost to this recession. Dr. Singer, a family therapist in central New Jersey, volunteers his services on the weekends for couples hard-hit by the recession.
I volunteer at a community Food Bank which serves approximately 2,000 people a week's worth of groceries each month. The need for food has increased about 35% in our community.
This year during Ramadan, right before the start of the United We Serve Interfaith Week of Service, the Interfaith Committee at my church, St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Arlington, Virginia, organized an iftar (dinner to break the Ramadan fast) for members of local Muslim communities. More than 60 Catholics and Muslims attended the dinner, a turnout far surpassing our expectations.
To most people, digging up dirt and spreading mulch may not sound like a good time. However, that’s exactly what over 30 volunteers of all ages at RAF Mildenhall UK Air Force Base did in early September when they came together to create a remembrance garden for armed services veterans.
Staff members from The Hitachi Foundation and Hitachi, Ltd. in Washington, DC spent the 9/11 Day of Service with Covenant House.
Shafia Clinic is a community-oriented alternative for people who cannot afford medical treatment. Operated by a volunteer team of physicians, nurses, and administrative staff, Shifa Clinic also receives generous donations from the community.
Crenshaw High School opened in 1968 in the historic Crenshaw District of South Los Angeles. Students here face more than the normal teenage dramas; they also deal with shifting cultural alliances and the threat of gang violence. 85% qualify for the Free/Reduced Lunch Program. Out of these difficult circumstances, the Crenshaw Eco Club has risen to become the largest and most ethnically diverse club on campus.
Students at Woodmere Middle School on Long Island completed a service-learning project at the Town of Hempstead's Marine Nature Study Area in honor of the 16th Annual National Public Lands Day. They lent a helping hand to Long Island's tidal wetlands, which provide protection for shellfish, small fish, migratory birds, and other animals.
For low income non-English speaking families, tax season can be a daunting time. In Pinal County, Arizona, Ricardo Banuelos has opened up 16 centers to help residents overcome language barriers and recover the benefits they are entitled to.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I began my internship at the Department of Education this summer. I was aware of the great work that the department was doing to improve the quality of education throughout the country but I curious to see what my role would be in this greater mission.

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