"The girl, dressed in a stiffly starched white dress, with a ribbon in her hair, gripping her mother's hand tightly and glancing apprehensively towards the crowd." (New York Times)
It's the most requested painting at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Painted in 1964, the picture focusses on a young black girl, a book under her arm, walking to school. She is preceded by two men and followed by two other men -- not just any men. The artist refrains from painting the men's faces, drawing our attention even more to the little girl. Behind her is a wall, splattered with tomatoes. One word screams: "Nigger".
It was November 15, 1960, the first day of school for Ruby Bridges, at the all-white William J. Frantz Elementary in New Orleans' Ninth Ward. When Ruby first arrived and saw the swelling crowd, she thought that it was Mardi Gras. However, The New York Times reported the sad truth:
"Some 150 white, mostly housewives and teenage youths, clustered along the sidewalks across from the William Franz School when pupils marched in at 8:40 am. One youth shouted: 'Two, four, six, eight, we don't want to integrate; eight, six, four, two, we don't want a chigeroo.' Forty minutes later, deputy marshals arrived with a Negro girl and her mother. They walked hurriedly up the steps and into the yellow brick building while onlookers jeered and shouted taunts. The girl, dressed in a stiffly starched white dress, with a ribbon in her hair, gripping her mother's hand tightly and glancing apprehensively towards the crowd." (https://soapboxie.com/social-issues/The-Problem-We-All-Live-With---Norman-Rockwell-the-truth-about-his-famous-painting)
Even so, according to deputy marshal Charles Burks "She never cried. She didn't whimper. She just marched along like a little soldier." Her courage paved the way for future black children to integrate all-white schools. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Frantz_Elementary_School)