Source
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 | null null , null
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.

INAUGURATION 2008

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

MORE NEWS FOR KIDS

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  
    Rookie Biographies®: Barack Obama

    Rookie Biographies®: Barack Obama

    by Joanne Mattern

    Easy-to-read, large-type text, illustrations, and photographs make this series the perfect introduction to these influential people. “Will serve beginning readers well.”—SLJ

    $4.46 You save: 25%
    Paperback Book | Grades 1-2
    Add To Cart
    Educators Only
    Rookie Biographies®: Barack Obama
    Grades 1-2 $4.46
    Add To Cart
  • Teacher Store
  • The Teacher Store  
    Scholastic News Nonfiction Readers - American Symbols: Meet President Barack Obama - Activity Sheet

    Scholastic News Nonfiction Readers - American Symbols: Meet President Barack Obama - Activity Sheet

    by Laine Falk

    Scholastic’s downloadable worksheets for students offer a varied selection of tasks that require reading for meaning through many fun and strategic activities. The rich content of our title-specific blackline masters incorporates writing exercises, graphic organizers, deductive reasoning, critical thinking, vocabulary development, and much, much more. Through innovative exercises, students will enjoy a range of activities that require them to engage in post-reading reflections that include but are not limited to understanding character development, imagining new endings, connecting with text-based information, plus a focus on important age-appropriate reading strategies such as summarizing, comparing/contrasting, problem solving, synthesizing, determining cause and effect and many others. From phonics to fluency, the Scholastic downloadable worksheets offer meaningful engagement for students in grades K-12. Now available for a special selection of our most popular fiction and nonfiction paperbacks. Perfect for a learning center activity, skill reinforcement, take-home, informal self-assessment, and monitoring independent reading.

    $2.95
    Worksheet | Grades 1-3
    Add To Cart
    Educators Only
    Scholastic News Nonfiction Readers - American Symbols: Meet President Barack Obama - Activity Sheet
    Grades 1-3 $2.95
    Add To Cart
Privacy Policy
EMAIL THIS

* YOUR FIRST NAME ONLY

* FRIEND'S FIRST NAME ONLY

* FRIEND'S EMAIL ADDRESS

MESSAGE
Here's something interesting from Scholastic.com