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"Ruby Bridges": Confronting Enemies with Courage

Ruby Bridges is the true story of the 6-year-old black girl who became the first person of color in the U.S., by federal law, to attend an all-white school in 1960 segregationist New Orleans, Louisiana. Ruby and five other black children were chosen because of their high intelligence, but only Ruby had the courage and faith to face overwhelming social adversity.

In one scene, Ruby's father is concerned about the danger she will face when she walks through the angry crowd of segregationists to enter her school. But her mother insists things can only get better if they make them better. "Honey," she tells him, "we can't be afraid."

As Ruby's mother kisses her good night, she says, "You know Momma's got to go back to work tomorrow. And Daddy's working. So do you think you can be a brave girl and go to school by yourself with the big men?"

Ruby stops smiling and hesitates for a moment, clutching her doll closer. Finally she shrugs a shoulder and agrees, "Okay."

Her mother tries to reassure her, saying, "You know Jesus faced the mob too, baby. Just like you. You know what he did? He prayed for them. Because the Bible says, 'Bless them that persecute you. Bless and curse not.'"

The next day an angry crowd in front of the school waves Confederate flags and hollers, "Go on home!" Bravely, Ruby steps out of the car with the four federal agents that surround her. One of them reminds her, "Ruby, remember what I told you. Keep looking straight ahead." As they walk through the crowd, one woman spits on the ground; another yells that she is going to hang Ruby. Ruby's eyes are fixated on a point by the front door as she recalls her parents' words of encouragement: "You are Daddy's brave little girl. Remember, God loves you, Ruby." Suddenly, Ruby is startled as a thrown tomato explodes on a post by the front door. They enter the doors and dismayed staff members eye her disapprovingly.

Elapsed time: Measured from the beginning of the opening credit, this scene begins at 00:25:00 and ends at 00:28:44.

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