Ruby Bridges was only 6 years old when the Civil Rights movement came hammering at her door, making her the first black child to attend an all-white elementary school in New Orleans. On the heels of Brown v. Board of Education, schools were ordered to integrate with “all deliberate speed,” and in 1960, Ruby became one of six black children to integrate all-white schools in the city. While Ruby integrated William Frantz Elementary School, the other five students went to other schools throughout the city, which left her to attend her school alone. When the white families learned of Ruby’s enrollment at William Frantz, they pulled their children from her class. This left Ruby and her first-grade teacher, Mrs. Henry, the only ones left in the classroom for the entire school year. Undaunted, Mrs. Henry and Ruby formed a tight bond with each other while protestors jeered and threatened Ruby’s life outside the school every day that she attended it. Ruby’s integration placed undue pressure on her family—almost tearing them apart—as they watched helplessly while federal marshals escorted young Ruby to school. With songs inspired by The Shirelles, Sam Cooke and Smokey Robinson, this musical explores a little girl’s unbeatable courage in the face of adversity as she helped to lead the Civil Rights movement up the front steps and into the classrooms of an elementary school in New Orleans.
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