Ruby Bridges was born in Tylertown, Mississippi in 1954, the same year as the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision. 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 became the first black student to integrate an all-white elementary school in the South in 1960, when she attended William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans. In the face of angry segregationist mobs, Bridges was escorted to school by federal marshals on Nov. 14, 1960 and forced to attend classes alone after white parents pulled their children from the school in protest. A Norman Rockwell painting titled, "The Problem We All Live With," which depicts Bridges’ walk to school is currently on display at the White House.
Ruby Bridges is currently the chair of the Ruby Bridges Foundation, which was created in 1999. President Clinton awarded Bridges with the Presidential Citizens Medal in 2001. In 2006, a new elementary school was dedicated to Ruby Bridges in Alameda, California. In 2007, the Children's Museum of Indianapolis opened their new exhibit that chronicled the life of Ruby Bridges, Ryan White, and Anne Frank.