Louisiana students walk historic path of Ruby Bridges ahead of 60th anniversary of desegregation

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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WDSU)- New Orleans students walked the path of history Friday as NOLA Public School students commemorated the 60th anniversary of desegregation.

It has been 60 years since schools in New Orleans have been integrated thanks to the courageous acts of four little girls and their families.

Students were able to walk the path of Ruby Bridge Friday in the 9th Ward.

Six years after the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision mandated desegregation of public schools, Bridges, 6, had the courage to make sure New Orleans complied.

It was a major milestone not only in the history of our public education school system but actually here in the deep south, integration never took place.

Desegregation actually happened in the city of New Orleans.

The William Frantz School is now Akili Academy. The school that Bridges integrated is now 99.9% Black students.

This is the case for many of the schools across the district.

“Over a 60-year period, our communities have changed and also access in public education has changed, but what we have done as a school system is make sure that no matter what neighborhood you live in,” said NOLA Schools Superintendent Henderson Lewis. “We give you equal access to be able to apply to a school you want your child to attend.”

Lewis and students at Akili Academy had the chance to walk in Bridges steps Friday, learning a lesson on the legacy of a courageous 6-year-old.

“We are always thinking about ways to make sure our promises to our children be fulfilled,” Lewis said. “The fact that she opened doors and opportunities for students in our schools and across this country.”

Even though Bridges’ walk happened 60 years ago, her story will bridge times and space, with her iconic moment once again in the spotlight.

“Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has made it very clear that she is walking in the shadow of Ruby Bridges,” said Lewis. “What that says to us is that Ruby Bridges paved the way for the first person of color who is going to be the Vice President of the United States.”

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