Black doll in a baby’s casket

From Woman who was escorted into school as first black student, age 6, offers thanks 53 years later to the white U.S. Marshal who protected her:

“But [Ruby] Bridges, who still lives in New Orleans, did recall seeing a black doll in a baby’s casket the crowd taunted her with, a haunting image she said gave her nightmares.”

When I read about this historic event, I think about the little girl’s parents. What a courage! Would you have moral strength and conviction to send your six-year-old into such hostile environment that it would require daily escort by federal marshals? I’m not sure I would.

My daughter has just started kindergarten, so when I look at the photo below and see this little girl in her perfect dress, the cute bow, the pretty shoes and white socks, I’m wondering what it took Ruby’s family to get her ready for the first day of school. How did they prepare her? What did they tell her in anticipation of passing through the crowd of raging grown-ups?

Ruby Bridges, 6, required three U.S. Marshals to escort her into Williant Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1960

Ruby Bridges, 6, required three U.S. Marshals to escort her into Williant Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1960. U.S. Deputy Marshal Charles Burks, top left, never left her side .(Credit: AP)

I also think about all these white people in the crowd. Not only did they feel obligated to come for a chance to harass the little soul, but they came prepared. Some of them brought these little babies’ caskets with black dolls inside. So they could make their point clear to the six-year-old.

Where does one get a baby’s casket? At a funeral home? Supermarket? Did they build the caskets themselves? As a family activity? So they come from a church service or a family gathering on Sunday and tell their kids:

“This is what we’re gonna do tonight. We’ll buy a black doll. Then we’ll go to a workshop and build a small casket.  Tomorrow, we’ll put the doll in the casket and wave it in the face of this six-year-old black girl on her way to your school. We’ll do it in the name of the Lord. I bet she’ll get scared. It will be fun!”

Who are all these people?

Sidewalk protest in New Orleans over school integration, November 15th,1960.

November 1960: Demonstrators during school integration in New Orleans, Louisiana; one holding sign that reads, “Integration is A Mortal Sin.”

All I Want For Christmas is a Clean White School

Sidewalk protest in New Orleans over school integration, November 15th,1960.

Little Rock, 1959. Rally at state capitol, protesting the integration of Central High School. Protesters carry US flags and signs reading

Little Rock, 1959. Rally at state capitol, protesting the integration of Central High School. Protesters carry US flags and signs reading “Race Mixing is Communism” and “Stop the Race Mixing March of the Anti-Christ”.

Are they still around? Some of them should be alive. I wonder if they kept the babies’ caskets. Too bad they weren’t invited to the Ruby Bridges and Charles Burks reunion, so we’ll never find out.

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