63 years ago today, Ruby Bridges was the first African American child to attend a formerly white-only elementary school. Schools across the nation, including Zane Middle School in Eureka, participated in Ruby Bridges Walk To School Day to celebrate her legacy.
“It’s important to me because Ruby Bridges is one of the first African Americans to go to an all-white school and she changed most of history or I wouldn’t really even be here,” said Tsifra Coan Ross, a sixth grader at Zane Middle School.
The Black Student Union (BSU) club at Zane Middle School organized the annual Ruby Bridges Walk To School Day. This is the anniversary of when six-year-old Bridges integrated an all-white elementary school in New Orleans in 1960. The organizing of this event began as soon as the school year started. Coan Ross helped plan the two different routes for the Ruby Bridges walk.
“We actually started at CVS and at Washington,” said Lance Oden, a language arts teacher and advisor for the BSU club. “We had two groups, kids who had agreed that they were going to do this, signed up, and in the middle of rain, walk to school to celebrate Ruby Bridges.”
Last year’s walk had about 20 participants. Participants include Zane Middle School students, parents, teachers and staff. This year, there were more than 150 people who participated.
“I hope that they understand a little bit of history, some history that they might not get through textbooks, but they also explore the history of education,” said Baron Parks, a club advisor for BSU. “And then I also think just keeping in mind what Ruby Bridges went through to go to school to participate in learning and her education. A little bit of rain, Humboldt weather wasn’t going to keep us away.”
Students were supported by different entities for this walk like, Black Humboldt, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Eureka City Schools and more. Triple AAA has sponsored this event for several years in this region. Zane Middle School BSU club officers and advisors look forward to making next year’s Ruby Bridges Walk To School Day bigger.
“You can do anything,” Coan Ross said. “And she was only six years old, which is really impressive when you think about it. Because she’s a six-year-old getting yelled at and screamed at, and things thrown at her. That’s just impressive that she still went to school to learn and changed America.”