INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WIAT) — Ruby Bridges, 58, carried segregating New Orleans public schools on her tiny 6-year-old shoulders many years ago. She was the first black child to attend an all-white school in New Orleans in 1960.
Charles Burks, 91, is one of the federal marshals who made sure Bridges wasn’t injured on that journey.
Now, they are teaching a new generation about civil rights.
As part of the Living Legends series, Bridges and Burks reunited at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis to share their story 53 years later.
“It changed the face of education. It was very, very important,” explained Bridges. “For a long time I thought it was a part of history that was swept under the rug and people didn’t talk about it.”
Over the years, though, things changed. Both Burks and Bridges do talk about the events now.
“Making sure nothing happened to Ruby was the most important thing, and also protecting yourself, because if something happened it wouldn’t have been just her,” said Burks.
“This is an amazing experience that we are able to know, to not need guards, not have mobs outside our schools, that shoe would pave this road for us to make our education different,” said Grace Ybarra, an eighth grade student.
In 1964, Norman Rockwell painted a picture entitled “The Problem We All Live With.” The picture shows a little girl resembling Bridges and a U.S. Marshal making a difference.
Copyright 2013 WIAT-TV CBS 42