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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
Believe me, volunteering does wonders for a wounded soul because I received far more than I gave.
The Woodville Community Library is not only a place where citizens of Woodville, WI and the surrounding area can borrow books, audio books, and movies, but it is also a community hub of information and activity.
There is nothing like brightening a stranger’s day with a thank you, and a kind gesture.
On July 23rd, in support of United We Serve’s Community Renewal Week, Deputy Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ron Sims and Director of White House Office of Urban Affairs Adolfo Carrion teamed up with Teens 4 Good at the East Poplar Urban Farm to harvest potatoes for donation.
Governor Timothy M. Kaine of Virginia participated in two United We Serve volunteer projects at the end of July including a park clean up and weatherization of a home.
The Breakthrough Leaders Program's main focus is leadership and one way we did that was by volunteering at a near by care center.
One of the most beautiful places in the Deckers Creek watershed is the scenic gorge along route 7 in Morgantown, WV. Despite the beauty found here, the area is frequently used as a dumping ground for trash.
Zenniah had the challenge and support she needed to succeed when she was a young scholar at Higher Achievement in DC. After graduating from the program, Zenniah immediately returned as a volunteer to help other young people from her community get on that same path to success.
Disheartened by the state of the local cemetary and the lost memory of past neighbors, a Sumter, SC family takes matters into their own hands.
Whole Foods shoppers know that when they donated their unwanted cell phones at Secure the Call’s collection barrels in Ann Arbor and West Bloomfield, MI that not only were they ‘greening’ their community, but they were also helping to keep the Detroit area safe.
I get an overwhelming sense of satisfaction to be able to give something back to the hospital whose dedicated employees worked so hard to give my husband his life back. They gave me my life back too.
When I arrived at work the other day (I collect tolls and distribute information at a booth along a 20-mile stretch of road that cuts through the park), a memo sat by the cash register: To: All Department of Interior Employees From: Secretary Subject: United We Serve What a revelation. Just a short time ago, I sat in an audience hearing from the First Lady about the idea that this summer, service would become an activity of all Americans. Now, two months later, a memo from the DOI Secretary announces a “call to action for all employees to participate in United We Serve and commit to a volunteer service goal this summer.”
Z, a middle school student in a Summerbridge learning program, didn't stand out. Until he started doing Calculus...
As part of ARAMARK Building Community and United We Serve's Community Renewal Issue Week, Rodney, Domonique Foxworth of the Baltimore Ravens, and 150 other ARAMARK employees spent the day volunteering at the East Baltimore Development Inc (EBDI) Community Center -- a place of great importance to Rodney.
The mission of Always Ready Kids was inspired by my Aunt Betsy who is a 9/11 survivor. Aunt Betsy was pushing the revolving door of the Center when the first plane hit. She says that what helped her survive is that she “was prepared with basic items” in her purse like a flashlight and handkerchief. Aunt Betsy is proof that preparedness saves lives.
By helping to care for others and feeding others, the love and compassion of the souls shines brightly. There is nothing more important in life than love for others.
My name is Robby Riess, Assistant Cubmaster of Pack 353 Brooklyn, NY & Brooklyn District Committee Camping Chairman. We set out to tackle the task of getting a few scouts for the much needed clean up of the shorelines of Floyd Bennett Field which impacts the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge area of Gateway National Parks.
In 2006, Kristin teamed up with four of her friends to start Birthday Wish. In the past two and a half years, they have helped over 80 families throw birthday parties for their children. The experience has strengthened her friendships and taught her that "young people can make a difference." She advises: "Don't think you can't get it done, don't think a task is too big and never give up."
What does "active citizenship" mean for first- and second-generation Korean Americans? What's their role in addressing social problems in their own communities? This student wants to help LA-area youth figure that out.
Through our Community Emergency Response Team training, we came up with a disaster plan for our community. We have had many drills. We separate our community into six sections and send teams of two out to check approximately 50 homes per team.
When NEA teachers get together for their annual conference, they don't just go to meetings. This June, over 400 college students and retired teachers affiliated with the National Education Association pitched in to revitalize an elementary school in San Diego.
During these past few years, I have seen several major events consisting of structure fires, vehicle accidents, vehicle fires, search & rescues and wild fires. It is teamwork that has proven time after time, that we can perform a task that sometimes leaves you wondering why risks are taken.
A little help to get back on their feet.
I started interning with New Jersey Community Water Watch , which is a program ran by AmeriCorps and NJPIRG in a joint project. The program works by informing community members and students and encouraging them to be active stewards of their local water ways.
For three weeks, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has been collecting men's and women's business attire in an agency-wide effort to donate clothes to unemployed Americans seeking to re-join the workforce.
These Target team members are putting their skills to work for local kids to promote education and literacy. How could you use your own talents to support a community project?
Each spring since the restoration, the Bohemian Hall has a fund raising event called “Long Live the Squeeze Box”. Musicians donate a song or two for the event to help with restoration projects. This year we took it one step further.
The Sons of Norway answer the President's call to service.
Students at Scituate High School decided that their school was not “green” enough and decided to take action by entering Do Something’s “Increase Your Green” competition, where students across the nation competed to see who could get their school to be the most environmentally friendly.
As a part of United We Serve's Community Renewal Issue Week, USDA Deputy Secretary Merrigan worked alongside volunteers at the Cleveland Food Bank to prepare sandwiches for hungry children.

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