Ruby Bridges announced that her mother, 86-year-old Lucille Bridges, passed away in New Orleans, Louisiana. The younger Bridges became the first Black student to attend an all-white New Orleans elementary school when she was 6-years-old and is the subject of one of the most iconic images in the American Civil Rights movement. Lucille Bridges walked Ruby through crowds of screaming protestors who hurled racial slurs at her and her daughter and became, in Ruby’s words “a Mother of the Civil Rights Movement.”
“Today our country lost a hero,” Bridges wrote on Instagram. “Brave, progressive, a champion for change. She helped alter the course of so many lives by setting me out on my path as a six year old little girl. Our nation lost a Mother of the Civil Rights Movement today. And I lost my mom. I love you and am grateful for you. May you Rest In Peace.”
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Today our country lost a hero. Brave, progressive, a champion for change. She helped alter the course of so many lives by setting me out on my path as a six year old little girl. Our nation lost a Mother of the Civil Rights Movement today. And I lost my mom. I love you and am grateful for you. May you Rest In Peace. Lucille Bridges (August 12, 1934 – November 10, 2020)
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Lucille Bridges was the daughter of Mississippi sharecroppers and never completed an elementary school education, but she dreamed of a better life for her own daughter.
This dream was realized. Ruby Bridges has been immortalized in countless pieces of art, including Norman Rockwell’s famous “The Problem We All Live With,” but she has always given credit to her mother and father. “My parents are the real heroes,” the U.S. Marshals Service once quoted her as saying, according to the AP. “They (sent me to that public school) because they felt it was the right thing to do.”
Mayor LaToya Cantrell released a statement honoring Lucille Bridges’ courage, saying, “Today we mourn the loss of one of the mothers of the Civil Rights Movement in New Orleans with the passing of Lucille Bridges — mother of five, including Ruby Bridges. May she rest in God’s perfect peace.”