The result of the recent US election has inspired a new topic of history study in our house, and that is the ongoing struggle for equality. We studied the Abolition of Slavery a few years ago, and now we will study the American Civil Rights movement, and also the women's suffrage movement, talking about continuing attitudes of discrimination towards women and people of different races. I wonder where we will go from there? I love the unknown direction of new topics as we begin exploring. There are so many inspiring figures from history we can look at. Be inspired, as I am, by this post I spotted on Facebook from Mighty Girl, which suggests lots of good resources to begin with ....
"Today in Mighty Girl history, six-year-old Ruby Bridges became the first African American child to desegregate an all-white elementary school in the South. When the 1st grader arrived at William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans on this day in 1960 surrounded by a team of U.S. Marshals, she was met by a vicious mob shouting and throwing objects at her. This event was commemorated by Norman Rockwell in his famous painting, pictured here, "The Problem We All Live With."
One of the federal marshals, Charles Burks, who served on her escort team, recalls Bridges' courage in the face of such hatred: "For a little girl six years old going into a strange school with four strange deputy marshals, a place she had never been before, she showed a lot of courage. She never cried. She didn't whimper. She just marched along like a little soldier. We were all very proud of her."
Once Ruby entered the school, she discovered that it was devoid of children because they had all been removed by their parents due to her presence. The only teacher willing to have Ruby as a student was Barbara Henry, who had recently moved from Boston. Ruby was taught by herself for her first year at the school due to the white parents' refusal to have their children share a classroom with a black child.
Despite daily harassment, which required the federal marshals to continue escorting her to school for months; threats towards her family; and her father's job loss due to his family's role in school integration, Ruby persisted in attending school. The following year, when she returned for second grade, the mobs were gone and more African American students joined her at the school. The pioneering school integration effort was a success due to Ruby Bridges' inspiring courage, perseverance, and resilience.
If you'd like to share Ruby Bridges' inspiring story with the children in your life, there are several excellent books about her story including the picture book "The Story Of Ruby Bridges" for ages 4 to 8 (http://www.amightygirl.com/the-story-of-ruby-bridges), the early chapter book "Ruby Bridges Goes to School" for ages 5 to 8 (http://www.amightygirl.com/ruby-bridges-goes-to-school), and the highly recommended memoir that Ruby Bridges wrote for young readers 6 to 12 entitled "Through My Eyes" (http://www.amightygirl.com/through-my-eyes).
There is also an uplifting film about her story called "Ruby Bridges" for viewers 7 and up (http://www.amightygirl.com/ruby-bridges) -- you can also watch it instantly on Amazon at http://amzn.to/WOOvgY
For more books about courageous girls and women of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, check out our blog post on "30 Inspiring Books on Girls & Women of the Civil Rights Movement" at http://www.amightygirl.com/blog?p=11177
To give young readers more insight into the school integration struggle, Nobel Prize-winning author, Toni Morrison, has written an outstanding book, that's filled with photos capturing the major desegregation events of the period, for ages 9 and up, at http://www.amightygirl.com/remember
For Civil Rights Movement-themed books for readers 4 to 8, we recommend "I Am Rosa Parks" (http://www.amightygirl.com/i-am-rosa-parks-1) and "Child of the Civil Rights Movement" (http://www.amightygirl.com/child-of-the-civil-rights-movement).
For older readers, we recommend "Warriors Don't Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock's Central High" for 12 and up (http://www.amightygirl.com/warriors-don-t-cry) and "The Lions of Little Rock" for ages 9 to 13 (http://www.amightygirl.com/the-lions-of-little-rock).
And, for more inspiring stories of trailblazing girls and women around the world, you can sign-up for A Mighty Girl's free weekly newsletter at http://www.amightygirl.com/forms/newsletter