On Nov. 14, 1960, at the age of 6, Ruby Bridges became the first Black child to attend William Frantz Public School and one of the first African American students to brave racist jeers and threats to desegregate a Deep South school. Her story as someone who broke down racist barriers can be glimpsed in a Kamala Harris meme that has gone viral. It shows a striding Harris casting a silhouettte of a Norman Rockwell painting of that little girl in a fluffy dress and ponytail.

What became of that historic school tells not just Bridges’ story of desegregation but also that of a “continued racism as well as efforts to dismantle and privatize public education” in the U.S., write University of Nebraska Omaha education scholar Connie L. Schaffer and her colleagues Martha Graham Viator and Meg White.

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Emily Schwartz Greco

Philanthropy + Nonprofits | Childhood + Parenting Editor

US deputy marshals escort 6-year-old Ruby Bridges outside William Frantz Public School in New Orleans in 1960. AP Photo

Once a symbol of desegregation, Ruby Bridges’ school now reflects another battle engulfing public education

Connie L. Schaffer, University of Nebraska Omaha; Martha Graham Viator, Rowan University; Meg White, Stockton University

Is the public education that Ruby Bridges fought to integrate a relic of the past?

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