Museum, Melrose, LA
Place Category: Memorial & Statue
Ruby Bridges Statue was dedicated on November 14th, 2014, in the courtyard of William Frantz Elementary School. Fifty-four years before, when Bridges was six years old, she was escorted to the school by federal marshals, for her personal security, as the first African-American girl in New Orleans to enroll in an all-white school.
This was a key event in the African-Americans struggle against school segregation in the south, which happened a few years after the Supreme Court ruled that school segregation was unconstitutional in the famous Brown v. Board of Education case.
During her first year at school, she was taught alone by only one teacher, Barbara Henry. It took a while till the boycott of the white parents was settled, and Bridges continued to study in desegregated schools till she graduated from high school. When she grew up, she continued her activism work and, in 1999, founded the Ruby Bridges Foundation to eliminate racism, segregation, and equal education to all.
The William Frantz Elementary School was closed in 2008 and is now the home to the Akili Academy of New Orleans. Since the statue located inside the school courtyard, need to coordinate the visit with the school, at 504-355-4172.
At the front door of the school building, there is a marker commemorating the day Bridges entered the school for the first time and made history. The area around the school is residential without tourist attractions. A mile and a half from it, there is a beautiful open street art area between 2239 St Claude Ave and 1101 Elysian Fields Ave. The French Quarter is 2.5 miles from the school.
Bridges is also depicted in “The Remember Them: Champions for Humanity Monument” in downtown Oakland, California, and in a statue at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.
More statues of iconic African-American women:
Address: 3721 N Claiborne Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117
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1960, US Marshals with young Bridges - Wikipedia. The statue photo is courtesy of Akili Academy