Once again I enjoy the link to the "Big Easy". Thanks. Jim Baker
I read that children were tested to see if they would be suitable candidates for
integration. It would be interesting to see the criteria for suitability! I have to believe
that 6 yr. old Ruby had great social and communication skills. She must have been very
personable and likely intelligent. It must have been a difficult decision for parents of the
6 chosen children. I understand 2 of them decided not to integrate at the time.
I had no idea who this woman was until I saw the painting. I recognized the painting
and knew it must be Ruby Bridges. Rebecca Bare
Hopefully we have come as long way since then. Dennis Bran
This one was an easy one. I recognized girl in the painting as Ruby Bridges so I
searched Obama Ruby Bridges painting in Google images. Almost all the hits I got
were this exact photo. Milene Rawlinson
I immediately recognized the famous painting from your picture and did a yahoo search
on "Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post cover" and found a reference
to the event.
A photo which inspired the paiting can be found at the Ruby Bridges foundation website
As a personal reminiscence, I remember comments made by my mother (who was
white, born in 1913, and had taught second grade in an integrated Illinois elementary
school throughout the depression) about this, and similar events.
My mother was aghast at the behavior of the southern "ladies" who would
line the sidewalks outside schools yelling the vile obscenities at the young
"colored" children and said that no "lady" should ever yell
obscenities at ANY children, regardless of race. My mother was firm in her belief that
adults should behave themselves when young children were present. My mother
twisted her mouth when she used the word "ladies" about these women - I
think that she had other words in mind but was too ladylike to utter them.
My Dad grew up in Ponchatula anf one of my aunts lived in the French Quarter for
years. I have lots of fond memories of visiting NOLA ad a kid and playing with my
cousins in the woods behind the house Dad grew up in. He lived there in the 1930-50s.
His high school diploma is from the Hammond segerated high school. He has so many
stories of life there "back in the day.. Sally Garrison
I have actually seen the original painting, myself, many years ago at the Norman
Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. It was extremely moving and is
without a doubt, one of the most powerful paintings in American History. My family
has a place in upstate NY and we frequently visit there. Main Street in Stockbridge is
one of my favorite places, and if you are ever there, stop, check it out, & don't miss
the Red Lion Inn, a colonial era hotel & restaurant...Top notch place!!!.
Robert W. Steinmann Jr.
I grew up in Metairie and attended St. Catherine of Siena grammar school (class of
'62). I do remember all the integration hysteria in the media.
My family actually benefited from the hysteria because the State made "grant in aid"
funding available that could be applied toward parachial or private school tuition, which
lowered their out-of-pocket considerably during my high school years at Archbishop
Chappel and then Ridgewood. All this hysteria also fed the "white flight" to the suburbs
turning Metairie from the sleepy suburb of my youth. Diane Burkett
The courage of little children always puts adults to shame.
I grew up about the same time as you and Ruby. However, since mine was a military
family, I lived some of the time under integration (military housing and schools) and
some of the time under segregation (civil housing and schools). It just seemed odd to
me, as a child, that there would be two ways of living. Then we moved to North
Charleston, South Carolina, and saw the chasm, physical and emotional, between
blacks and whites. We arrived just as the local school board was battling in the courts
over integration. They lost, of course, and there was a wholesale scramble of white
families moving their children to private schools. The sheer vitriol of the white kids
against the blacks shocked me then and shocks me now. The chasm has been bridged
a little over time, but it is still there. Margaret Paxton
Hard to believe that was only 50 years ago! I read the Wikipedia article of how many
of the white parents and teachers reacted when she arrived at the school and it is truly,
truly shocking; that was only 11 years before I was born. Sometimes it's too easy to
forget how far we've come - I grew up in a true 'melting pot' neighborhood outside of
Baltimore and yet moving up to where I am now back in 1995 (central PA), I am still
surprised at the amount of racial tension that exists in small towns, even in the North.
There are very few African-American or Hispanic families in my town and I cannot
count the number of people that still use the n-word around here and have Confederate
flags on their trucks, clothing and even in their yards. It is getting better - but I guess I
was spoiled by where I grew up! Nicole Blank
The little girl in the painting titled “The Problem We All Live
With” is walking to school in a white dress, white socks
and white shoes. Her hair is parted in neat plaits and she is
carrying a book and a ruler. The girl appears confident and
proud, even as she is overshadowed by U.S. marshals in
muted gray suits. She does not seem to notice the tomato
splashed on the painted wall behind her or the racial epithet
be the first to attend integrated schools. Six children were chosen; however, two
students decided to stay at their old school, and three were transferred to
McDonogh.Ruby was the only one assigned to William Frantz. Her father was not an
advocate of the decision. He felt that the backlash would lead to problems for Ruby as
well as problems for the family. Her mother felt strongly that the move was needed not
only to give her daughter a better education, but "to take this step forward...for all
African-American children:.She won the argument in the end. Ruby's mom understood
the impact Ruby's involvement would have on African Americans in the future.
The court-ordered first day to integrate schools in New Orleans, November 14, 1960
was commemorated by Norman Rockwell in the painting The Problem We All Live
With. As Bridges describes it, "Driving up I could see the crowd, but living in New
Orleans, I actually thought it was Mardi Gras. There was a large crowd of people
outside the school. They were throwing things and shouting, and that sort of goes on in
New Orleans st Mardi Gras. She did not understand initially that the things were being
yelled and directed towards her as a black child daring to enter "their" school. Former
United States Deputy Marshall Charles Burks later recalled, "She showed a lot of
courage. She never cried. She didn't wimper. She just marched along like a little
soldier, and we're all very proud of her."
Once Ruby made it into the school, surrounded by federal marshals, she spent the
entire day of the first day of school sitting in the office with her mother. The chaos of
the school prevented her from moving to the classroom until the second day. During
the day, parents continued to show up, pulling their children out of school, as they
refused for their children to be educated alongside a black child. All the teachers
refused to teach while a black child was enrolled. They hired Barbara Henry to teach
Bridges, and for over a year, Mrs. Henry taught her alone, "as if she were teaching a
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|See Results of
Our Ninth Occasional PhotoQuiz Survey
September 11, 2011
|1. Who is the African American woman
with whom President Obama is speaking?
2. What is her place in history?
3. Why did she visit the White House?
|Submitted by Quizmaster Emeritus Dr. Stanley Read.
1. Ruby Nell Bridges Hall
2. She was the first African American child
to attend a white school in the segregated South.
3. To see the Norman Rockwell painting on the wall,
"The Problem We All Live With"
The little girl in the painting is Ruby on her way to school.
Ruby Bridges visited the White House to see how a painting commemorating her
personal and historic milestone looks hanging on the wall outside of the Oval Office.
American Artist Norman Rockwell was criticized by some when this painting first
appeared on the cover of Look magazine on January 14,1964; now the iconic portrait
will be on display throughout the summer of 2011 in one of the most exalted locations
in the country.
Ruby Bridges was born on September 8, 1954 in
Tylertown, MS. At the age of four, she moved
with her parents to New Orleans. When she was
only six years old, her parents answered a call from
the National Association for the Advancement of
Colored People, volunteering Ruby as a student to
participate in the integration of the public school
system in New Orleans. She is known as the first
black child to attend an all-white elementary school
located in the South. She attended William Franz
Elementary School at 3811 N. Galvez St., New
Orleans, LA 70117.
In Spring 1960, Ruby was one of several African
Americans in New Orleans which children would
|Comments from Our Readers
|Congratulations to Our Winners!
David Schrager Tish Olshefski
Robert W. Steinmann Jr. Sally Garrison
Angel Esparza JoLynn Pfeiffer
Margaret Paxton Dennis Brann
Robin Tyree-Spence Donna Jolley
Joyce Veness Barbara Battles
Barbara Mroz Gary Sterne
Jim Baker Shirley Hamblin
George Wright Tim Brixius
Edee Scott Alex Sissoev
Joshua Kreitzer Milene Rawlinson
Daniel Jolley Donna Jolley
Kevin Beeson Don Draper
Arthur Hartwell Diane Burkett
|The Problem We All Live With
by Norman Rockwell
Her only pupil for the entire year was Ruby.
Ruby and Mrs. Henry became very close,
but Mrs. Henry's decision to teach Ruby
caused her to be ostracized by the rest of
the staff who treated her badly.
Every day Ruby walked through the jeering
crowd of people. One woman would
threaten to poison her. Because of this,
U.S. Marshals dispatched by President
Eisenhower, who were overseeing her
safety, only allowed Ruby to eat food that she brought from home. There was another
woman in the crowd who held a coffin that had a black baby doll inside. Ruby
remarked that this "scared me more than the nasty things people screamed at me."
Ruby's mother suggested she begin praying on her way to school, and she did do this.
On one occasion, Ruby stopped in the middle of the crowd and appeared to be talking
to herself. When Mrs. Henry asked her what she was doing, she learned that Ruby had
forgotten to say her prayers, and so she had stopped prior to entering the building.
There was a child psychiatrist named Robert Coles, who volunteered to provide
counseling for Ruby while she was at William Frantz Elementary. Coles met with her
once a week in her home and later wrote a book about her called The Story of Ruby
Bridges to acquaint other children with her story.
Much of what her father anticipated would happen to Ruby and to the family did
happen. Her father lost his job. Her grandparents, sharecroppers living in Mississippi,
were sent off the land. There were many death threats to Ruby and the family. They
were supported, however, by both the black and white communities in a variety of
ways. Some white families continued to send their children to Franz despite the
protests, a neighbor provided her father with a new job, local people babysat, watched
the house to protect it, and walked behind the marshal's car on the trips to school.
At the conclusion of her first year, there were a few white children who were still
attending, William Frantz School, but they were not with Ruby. Instead, they had their
own classes as segregation continued.
Ruby learned that there were other children attending, and she did not understand why
she could not go to class with them or play with them. There were white families who
allowed their children to continue to attend William Frantz Elementary, but they were
She still lives in New Orleans. For fifteen years, she worked as a travel agent, and later
became a full time mom to her four sons. She is currently the chair of the Ruby Bridges
Foundation, which was created in 1999. The goal of the foundation is to teach
tolerance, appreciation of differences, and respect. Her parents later divorced.
Describing the mission of the group, she says that "racism is an grown-up disease and
we must stop using our children to spread it."
In 1993, Ruby began to care for her recently orphaned nieces, then attending William
Franz Elementary as their aunt had before them. She began to volunteer as a parent
liaison three days a week..Eventually publicity related to Coles' children's book caused
reporters to track down Ruby and write stories about her volunteer work at the school,
which in turn led to a reunion with teacher Henry. Barbara Henry and Ruby now
sometimes make joint appearances in schools in connection wtih the Ruby Bridges
On January 8, 2001, Bridges was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal by President
Bill Clinton. In 2006, a new elementary school was dedicated to Ruby Bridges in
Alameda, California. In November 2006 she was honored in the Anti-Defamation
League's Concert Against Hate. In October, 2006, the Alameda Unified School District
dedicated a new elementary school to Ruby Bridges, and issued a proclamation in her
honor.In 2007 the Children's Museum of Indianapolis unveiled a new exhibit
documenting Bridges' life, along with the lives of Anne
Frank and Ryan White.
Bridges is the subject of the Lori McKenna song "Ruby's
Shoes." Bridges's childhood struggle at William Frantz
Elementary School was portrayed in the 1998
made-for-TV movie Ruby Bridges. Bridges was portrayed
by actress Chaz Monet; the movie starred Lela Rochon as
Ruby's mother, Lucielle 'Lucy' Bridges, Michael Beach as
Ruby's father, Abon Bridges as well as Penelope Ann Miller
as Ruby's teacher, Mrs. Henry, and Kevin Pollack as Dr.
Like hundreds of thousands of others in the greater New
Orleans area, she lost her home (in Eastern New Orleans)
to the catastrophic flooding in the failure of the levee
system during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
|Ruby Bridges Hall
|Lucille Bridges, Ruby's mother, with Normal Rockwell's painting of her daughter.
|How Arthur Solved the Puzzle
|Searching for African-American woman with Obama gave me lots of
Afrcan- American women but not the correct one. I finally decided to
follow the pictures title. "Obama woman picture" gave me a reporter's
report with a picture showing fewer people, but all of Norman Rockwell's
painting. Looking up Ruby Bridges in Wikipedia gave me the quiz picture
and more information about Ruby. It took lots of courage for her during
the first couple years of school.
some white families who wanted their
children to continue with school at William
Frantz Elementary, but they were treated
with the same scorn and threats of
violence that Ruby and her family were
dealing with. Some of them eventually
gave up for fear for their safety. At the
end of the year, when Mrs. Henry was not
asked to return to William Frantz, she
returned to Boston to raise a family in a
place where she felt things were "normal".
She never forgot about Ruby. She kept a
picture of the girl with so much vourage
on the bureau in her bedroom. Mrs.
Henry and Ruby were reunited in
Ruby Bridges is now Ruby Bridges Hall.
|Read and hear PBS News Hour
interview with Ruby Bridges Hall,
February 18, 1997
A Class of One
In 1960, 6-year-old Ruby Bridges Hall
became the first African American child to
desegregate an elementary school. In honor
of National Black History Month, Hall
discusses her memories of the first day she
entered her new school in New Orleans,
her first year when she was in a class of
one, and her efforts to improve education.
might not be looking at this together,”
Obama tells Bridges.
The painting’s journey to the White
House began around the time of
Obama’s inauguration. Bridges had
been invited to the event by her close
friend, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.).
“I spent some time before President
Obama was sworn in thinking about
the handful of individuals who should
be there on the historic occasion of
having the first African American
president,” Landrieu said in an
interview. “I knew her story my
whole life. It dawned on me that she
should be invited.”
During their conversations, Bridges
mentioned the painting and her desire to have it hang in the White House, Landrieu said.
“I remember her telling me, ‘I have the portrait. Do you think we can hang it in the
White House?’ ”
On the day of the inauguration, Bridges brought a print with her. “We were so excited,
but in the midst of all the added security,” Landrieu said, “we couldn’t get it through
the door of the White House.”
After Bridges’s initial conversations with Landrieu, other politicians, faith groups and
board members from the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass., began
lobbying the White House, suggesting the painting be displayed there to commemorate
the 50th anniversary of Bridges’s walk to integrate the New Orleans school.
Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) was among them. When Lewis visited Louisiana on the fifth
anniversary of Hurricane Katrina last year, he met Bridges. They toured her old
“I spent the whole day with her,” Lewis said. “She thought it would be fitting for the
White House to . . . display the painting in one of the rooms or offices. I did mention it
to some people on my staff and others at the White House.”
The painting, which appeared on the cover of Look magazine on Jan. 14, 1964, is on
loan from the Norman Rockwell Museum to the White House until Oct. 31, when it
returns to the museum’s traveling exhibition.
Lewis said hanging the painting at the White House says something profound. “I think
there is a connection there,” he said. “Considering you know what I’m going through
and what I am facing is really small compared with what this child had to face. When
you look at the scenes from New Orleans . . . there is this mob and she is holding onto
books with her head high. She never lost faith. She was cool. In spite of all this, the
president is steady. If he is having an executive session with himself, he can say, ‘If
these kids can maintain dignity and look straight ahead, I can do it.’ ”
Art historian Richard J. Powell of Duke University said the painting is another example
of the Obama administration’s penchant for borrowing artworks that are both
provocative and significant in American and African American history. Some of the
paintings, such as Rockwell’s of Ruby Bridges, are iconic, while others have been less
“I think it is major that the president of the United States is bringing art into the White
House that are truly conversational pieces,” said Powell, author of “Black Art: A
scrawled above her.
The Norman Rockwell painting, depicting the walk by 6-year-old Ruby Bridges as she
integrated William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans in 1960, captures an ugly
chapter in U.S. history, a transition between a past of segregation and a new era that
This summer, the iconic artwork has found a temporary home — in the West Wing of
the White House, just outside the Oval Office. The road to the White House began in
2008, with a suggestion from Bridges herself. After a lobbying campaign by members
of Congress and others, the painting arrived in June.On July 15, Bridges visited the
White House to see how the historic painting looked, freshly hung. A video released by
the White House shows President Obama and Bridges standing in front of the painting.
“I think it is fair to say that if it hadn’t been for you guys, I might not be here and we