On November 14, 1960, six-year-old Ruby Bridges was first escorted to an all-white school in New Orleans by four Federal Marshals. When she enrolled, many white parents took their children out of the school. Because of daily threats, President Eisenhower sent Federal Marshals to escort her every day into the classroom for a year.
Another woman at the school put a black baby doll in a wooden coffin and protested with it outside the school, a sight that Bridges Hall has said “scared me more than the nasty things people screamed at us.” At her mother’s suggestion, Bridges began to pray on the way to school, which she found provided protection from the comments yelled at her on the daily walks. She was taught in a classroom alone for an entire year. Bridges family suffered for their decision to send her: Her father lost his job, the grocery store the family shopped at would no longer let them shop there, and her grandparents, who were sharecroppers in Mississippi, were turned off their land. The event was commemorated by Norman Rockwell in his famous painting “The Problem We All Live With” (see graphic below).