Scholastic Kids Press Corps
The Scholastic Kids Press Corps is a team of about 50 Kid Reporters around the nation.  The interactive site brings daily news to life with reporting for kids, by kids.

Uniting Kids Against Racism

Ruby Bridges's Contributions Paved the Way for Obama

By Madison Hartke-Weber | January 20 , 2009
Scholastic Kid Reporter Madison Hartke-Weber with author Ruby Bridges in Washington, D.C., Sunday, January 18, 2008. (Photo courtesy Madison Hartke-Weber)
Scholastic Kid Reporter Madison Hartke-Weber with author Ruby Bridges in Washington, D.C., Sunday, January 18, 2008. (Photo courtesy Madison Hartke-Weber)

On the day before Barack Obama's inauguration, author Ruby Bridges has good advice for his daughters who are now in the spotlight: "Don't pay a lot of attention to that attention. Stay humble and think about the contributions you can make to your community."

She should know. In 1960, when she was in first grade, Ruby Bridges integrated the New Orleans public schools. She was the first black child to attend the all-white William Frantz Public School, spending that entire first year alone in a classroom with only her teacher, because the principal kept her separated from the white students. She also had to be escorted to and from school by federal marshals so that angry protesters who stood outside the school each day could not hurt her.

On the Martin Luther King holiday, the day before the presidential inauguration, Ms. Bridges was at the Inaugural Fest in Washington, D.C., signing copies of her book Through My Eyes. The book tells the story of that first year going to school at William Frantz.

Bridges is very excited about the coming inauguration. "It's so cool that this is happening right now," she said. "It makes me think about my contributions and the sacrifices that my parents made and those of so many others, both black and white. It proves that all of these sacrifices have not been made in vain."

Through My Eyes is about the many sacrifices that Bridges and others made to integrate public schools in the South. She says that what she did so long ago had an impact on this election.

"Before I walked through the school doors in 1960, African-Americans didn't have the right to choose which school they wanted to attend," she said. "After that walk, we were entitled to an equal education. That allowed Barack Obama to have the kind of education that he had and then become President."

Bridges created the Ruby Bridges Foundation in 1999 to "help unite kids against racism." She worked on this goal with her former teacher Barbara Henry, who was the only teacher at William Frantz willing to teach a black student. Other teachers refused to talk to her and the principal did not invite Henry to come teach again at the school after that year.

Henry and Bridges were reunited on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1996; it had been 35 years since they had seen each other, and they saw it as an opportunity to help people learn from Ruby's story.

Bridges now works to teach kids about how they can help end racism.

"Always remember to reach out to the next person, create an opportunity to get to know one another, never judge another person by the color of their skin, and, most of all, give somebody a chance," she said.


Keep up with the latest news on President-elect Barack Obama in this special report.


Get the latest on national and international events, movies, television, music, sports, and more from Scholastic News Online.

About the Author

Madison Hartke-Weber is a member of the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.

  • Teacher Store
  • The Teacher Store  
    New Leveled Bookroom 3rd Edition Grades K-3

    New Leveled Bookroom 3rd Edition Grades K-3

    The NEW Leveled Bookroom 3rd Edition offers over 5,000 inspiring books, across an enormous variety of text types, themes, genres, topics and content areas to put all students on a fast track to mastering complex text. This 3rd edition also includes new print and digital resources and assessment tools that explicitly support college & career readiness.
    What's NEW?!
    Guided Reading Toolkit
    : A BRAND NEW print and digital resource offering critical strategies for using guided reading effectively and to prepare for next generation assessments.
    Digital Resources: Create custom text sets with the Text Set Finder by sorting titles by Guided Reading level, Genre, Theme, and Text Type.
    Assessment Kits: Next Step Guided Reading Assessment from Jan Richardson and Maria Walther provides streamlined assessment tools for data driven instruction!
    Updated Implementation Guide featuring NEW sections addressing:
        -Common Core State Standards
        -Text-Dependent Questions & Close Reading
        -Using Guided Reading to Foster 21st Century Learning Skills

    NEW K-3 Leveled Bookroom Product Components

    Each K-3 Bookroom Includes:
    • 595 Titles (6 copies each)
    • 3,570 Books (GR Levels A-Q, DRA Levels A-40, Lexile Levels BR-1000)
    • Master Title List (PDF)
    • Downloadable Identification Stickers that include each book’s title, author, genre, Guided Reading level, DRA Level, and Lexile level
    • Teaching Cards for every title
    • 1 Resource Kit*
    • 2 Next Step Guided Reading Sets

    *Each Resource Kit Includes:
    • Guided Reading Implementation DVD
    • Guided Reading Implementation DVD Viewing Guide
    • Leveled Bookroom Set-Up Guide
    • 5 Guided Reading Toolkits (Implementation Guide, Flip Chart, and Website access)
    • Text Set Finder Access
    • 15 NEW Implementation Guides which include:
      • Running Records for every level
      • Behavioral Observation Assessments
      • Skills & Strategies Charts
      • Reproducible Genre Bookmarks in English and Spanish
      • Reproducible Check Out Logs
      • Common Core Support

    $16,540.00 You save: 25%
    Scholastic Leveled Bookroom | Grades K-3
    Add To Cart
    Educators Only
    New Leveled Bookroom 3rd Edition Grades K-3
    Grades K-3 $16,540.00
    Add To Cart
  • Teacher Store
  • The Teacher Store  
    Guided Reading Short Reads Level R

    Guided Reading Short Reads Level R

    The all-new Guided Reading Short Reads gives students the practice they need to read and understand the complex, informational texts that we encounter every day. Students dive right into challenging & relevant content while learning key strategies to uncover deep meaning. With a wide range of subjects and text types, students will expand their academic and domain-specific vocabulary and deepen their comprehension and analytical skills. Put it all together, and Guided Reading Short Reads is an essential tool to prepare all K-6 students for assessments and real world readiness.

    NEW! Guided Reading Short Reads:
    • Fits seamlessly into classroom guided reading groups
    • Teaches strategies for decoding and comprehending complex texts
    • Builds rich domain-specific vocabulary across content areas
    • Engages students with thematically linked passages across text types
    • Provides sufficiently complex, short informational texts worthy of being read, reread, and analyzed

    Each level includes:
    • 10 Student Informational Text Cards, 6 copies each
    • 1 Teaching Guide
    • Magazine-style storage box

    Visit the Scholastic Guided Reading Program website for more information.

    $99.00 You save: 25%
    Supplementary Collection | Grades 4-5
    Add To Cart
    Educators Only
    Guided Reading Short Reads Level R
    Grades 4-5 $99.00
    Add To Cart
Privacy Policy




Here's something interesting from