In 1960, Ruby Bridges was the only first grader to attend class at the then all-white William Frantz Elementary School, when New Orleans decided to integrate its previously segregated school system.
In a special civil rights themed episode of Where Are They Now? with Oprah Winfrey, Ruby reminisces about her first grade teacher who, with much courage, taught her for a year while white parents refused to let their children attend class with Bridges. Instructor Barbara Henry did what no one else would when she decided to continue showing up to work for the young Ruby, and Bridges has always held that decision close to her heart.
During the special, Bridges and Winfrey recall how Barbara Henry was abandoned by other whites, during a clip from a 1996 episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show. Unsurprisingly, this alienation proved even more difficult, as Henry had recently moved to the South from Boston for the first grade teaching assignment.
Watch the clip and tune in to OWN on January 1st to see the full episode.
Randie Henderson is a Gates Millennium Scholar and recent college grad. She is driven to write, read, learn, and educate about ways to dismantle oppression in America and globally because she is passionate about people and justice. You can find her on randiejourney.tumblr.com