Ruby Bridges as a child

The bravery of Ruby Bridges: 4 ways to celebrate a six-year-old hero this Black History Month

February is Black History Month, and there are many remarkable stories of African Americans we can celebrate. An important figure to teach students about is Ruby Bridges.

Ruby integrated an all-white school at the young age of six, showing students then and now that no matter the age, a difference can be made. Despite her fear and all of the negative attention, Ruby continued to show up to school for an education. 

Educators can introduce and teach Ruby’s remarkable story to their class in these four ways.

1. Share Ruby’s story. Ruby’s story is available on many platforms: video, articles, books. A good resource is Ruby Bridges’ website. One thing my students always find amusing is the fact that Ruby Bridges is still a living activist; to know that segregation was not that long ago is mind-blowing to them. There are videos of Ruby talking about her experiences herself on websites such as Discovery Education

2. Use a read aloud. Adding a read aloud to whatever way you choose to introduce Ruby is very powerful. Students can see pictures and live her story again through her written perspective. This can generate opportunities for a good class discussion. How would students feel if they were Ruby? What questions may they ask her today?

3. List Ruby’s accomplishments. Ruby has accomplished so much, and exposing students to her legacy can be impactful. There’s a statue and a school named in her honor. In addition, there is a Ruby Bridges Walk to School Day your school can look into becoming a part of.

4. Incorporate learning activities. You can further engage students in Ruby’s story by creating or using activities already created online. For example, ask students to write about ways they can be brave like Ruby using this template.

In what other ways can we teach students about the bravery of Ruby Bridges? Let us know at Arizona PBS KIDS on Facebook!

About the author

Marissa Will is the mother of two, Olivia (6) and Logan (4). Writing was her first passion: she’s a freelance writer and a Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication alumna. Will is currently educating the future leaders of tomorrow: She has spent the past nine years educating third grade with a master’s degree in elementary education from Northern Arizona University-Yuma.

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