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1 Comment Vintage
On July 15, 1959, Federal courts gave a final ruling ordering desegregation of New Orleans schools or March 1, 1960. Soon after, the Louisiana Congress made restrictive rules over admitting black pupils to formerly white schools, resulting to only five girls qualifying. Meanwhile, 30 bills of massive resistence which would make integration illegal or at least difficult were proposed and were all quashed by Federal judges. Finally, integration was ordered by Federal courts on November 14, 1960.
Out of the five girls, only four finally registered, and Ruby Bridges enlisted for the William Frantz Elementary School and had to be escorted by U.S. Marshalls due to hostile crowds being mobilisated by segregationists such as Leander Perez. Egged by the "Cheerleaders", a group of white housewifes, white students and teachers refused to enter classroom, leaving only one white teacher from Boston, even thoug, after the first day, white pupils came in.
Ruby Bridges was followed by a child psychiatrist to see whether she managed to bear this harassment (she initially thought it was Mardi Gras), sometimes vicious (coffins with black dolls were waved by the crowd in front of her and her food had to be tested after threats of poisoning her were published), and was later described by former United States Deputy Marshal Charles Burks later recalled, "She showed a lot of courage. She never cried. She didn’t whimper. She just marched along like a little soldier, and we’re all very very proud of her."
Sources: New Orleans school desegregation crisis and here.