Students walk to school to honor Ruby Bridges

Students and staff from Marblehead Community Charter School take part in Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day on Tuesday. Photo by Spenser Hasak

A number of students across the school district walked to school Tuesday morning in honor of the 63rd anniversary of civil-rights activist Ruby Bridges’ first walk to a segregated school.

On Nov. 14, 1960, 6-year-old Ruby Bridges walked to William Frantz Elementary School in Louisiana, becoming the first Black student to attend the formerly whites-only school. 

Accompanied by U.S. marshals and bombarded with blatant racist threats every day, Bridges became known in American history as a civil-rights symbol and one of the figureheads of the movement to desegregate schools. In honor of Bridges, students in school districts across the country walked to school on Tuesday.

Holding a purple banner with the “Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day” logo, students and staff from Marblehead Community Charter Public School made their way from 62 Pleasant St. to the school. 

“They were really proud to carry the banner,” MCCPS Physical Education Teacher Jordan Shane said. “Seeing how happy they were made it worth it.”

Inside, students gathered for their daily community meeting, which takes place 15 minutes before the start of school. Tuesday morning’s meeting featured a presentation on Bridges and the significance of her historic first walk.

MCCPS School Psychologist Melissa DeLeo commented on the importance of teaching kids about Bridges, saying “this is a dialogue that we still need to have today.”

Shane added that a seventh-grade student shared her comments during the meeting, saying that it is important to reflect on the past in order to never forget history and noting that all of her classmates can attend the same school, no matter their color, because of Bridges.

“I thought it was really cool to see the kids make that connection,” Shane said. “I think that’s the whole reason we wanted this thoughtful organization of this day.”

“It was awesome to have one of our older kids in the building be able to summarize what the importance of this walk was about. To hear it from the mouths of one of our students really showed us the impact that this had,” DeLeo added.