Ruby Bridges was the first African American student to integrate a white elementary school in the South. On November 14, 1960, at the young age of six, Ruby Bridges began a historical movement that would be recognized for decades. This movement is appreciated on November 17th each year on a day we call Ruby Bridges Day.
Today, Bridges is an activist for racial equality and started the Ruby Bridges Foundation to help end racism, prejudice, and inequality.
In 1964, Norman Rockwell helped in this movement by painting a piece that called out the faulted system that had been accepted for too many years. He called it “The Problem We All Live With”, the “problem” being racism and “we” being the people who normalize it and let it happen.
The white dress in the painting represents Ruby’s innocence in the midst of all the hatred around her. There is a tomato splatter and even a derogatory term spray painted on the wall behind her. You can also see how she's not quite centered in the image. This represents her determination and courage. The painting faced both positive and negative reactions but either way, it stirred up a lot of controversy and questioning which is exactly what they needed to start thinking differently. The system still had a lot of work to do and still does to this day, but the combination of the painting, Ruby Bridges starting the movement at age six and continuing to this day shows how it's just the beginning.