FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Students at a Fort Wayne preschool are learning about a leader whose name became known nationwide when she was just 6 years old, and whose book retells the pivotal story that took place 63 years ago during the Civil Rights Movement.
On Nov. 14, 1960, 6-year-old Ruby Bridges integrated William Frantz Elementary School, which up to that point had been an all-white school in New Orleans.
Starting in 2018, the annual “Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day” honors the impact of the woman whose leadership as a young girl made waves in the Civil Rights Movement, and specifically desegregation in schools.
The Fort Wayne Urban League (FWUL) partnered with MLK Montessori School and Allen County Public Library staff to teach Ruby’s story Tuesday. Library staff read to students “Ruby Bridges Goes to School”, a book the FWUL said has been banned by several schools around the country. Organizers said each student would also get to keep a copy of the book.
According to the release from the Urban League, a student at MLK Montessori was chosen to portray Ruby Bridges during the event. Accompanied by her parents, she walked into school Tuesday morning on a red carpet, dressed in an outfit similar to the one Ruby was wearing when she walked to school alongside a less supportive crowd six decades ago.
“The student and her family embrace everything about what it truly means to love and accept others regardless of race & FWUL is excited to see her walk the red carpet!” the release said.
Watch the reenactment below:
Learn more about the civil rights icon on the official website for the Ruby Bridges Foundation.
The Fort Wayne Urban League surpassed its goal of giving away 500 banned books this year through the “Freedom to Learn” campaign, and the group is continuing the mission by handing out Ruby Bridges’ book to the community at 2135 S. Hanna St. from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. while supplies last.