The Story of Ruby Bridges
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The Story of Ruby Bridges

How America's Dark Past Inspired My Bright Future

The Story of Ruby Bridges
Us News Brown v.s. Board of Education

Education in America serves as a gateway for individuals to obtain skills that will enable them to thrive in society. There's much debate on whether the education system truly prepares students for the western world, or if students themselves are not valuing education enough to retain the skills needed to flourish in today's society.I can understand why some may feel this way. I too once blamed the education system for its many flaws. One is the history of segregated schools and how society refused to teach black people like me. When I learned activist fought so that I may have the right to an education, my perspective truly changed.

Despite education's dark past, I knew obtaining one was worth fighting for. I believe when I apply myself, education enables me to pursue my goals and overcome my struggles which gives me the power to free myself from the barriers education once placed against me.

I stood in line wearing dazzling high heels; head held high, dressed in a black robe long enough to cover my arms and legs. Although it wasn't my style, it was perfect for the occasion. Undergraduate graduation day was one I dreamed of since I was a child. May 22, 2015, the moment arrived finally, and I was blessed to have all my loved ones there. I could hear them screaming. Once the announcer called my name, I threw my tassel to the other side and raised my diploma feeling jubilee. All I could think about at that moment was the lesson my mother taught me; keep my education first and I would exceed all my expectations. She was most certainly right.

It was my mother who encouraged me to do well in school. She'd been there cheering me on at every award assembly until I was nine. Although she is no longer with me, her lesson about education persuaded me to remain steadfast in my academic career. I have a passion for reading which I inherited from my mother, who read books to me often. One of my favorites was the story of Ruby Bridges. She too was a young girl encouraged by her parents to pursue an education; however, the right to obtain an education was not accessible for Ruby as it was for me. Since whites did not think people deserved the right to an education, Ruby Bridges had to push through crowds of white men and women spitting at her, throwing racial slurs, and overall terrorizing her hoping the little black girl would not return.

I couldn't fathom the reason as to why those people treated a young girl like that all because of the color of her skin. It hurt to know that certain people felt this way about black people in school; especially when I was raised to cherish education so much. How could I when the very system that is supposed to elevate me, oppressed my race for years? Then, as I moved on, I realized history books seldom spoke about people of color as if our influential existence was irrelevant; which only confirmed my theory that the education system did not support people of color.

I was fed up. I did not want to support a system that did not support me. I sat in my room contemplating whether or not I wanted to drop out and waste three years of college, or suck it up and finish strong. But it was hard to focus on the negative when all I could hear is my mother saying, "Keep your education first and you will exceed all of your expectations." This reminded me of the Ruby Bridges story. It was then I realized I'd been looking at Ruby's battle all wrong. Ruby Bridges' story is about empowerment and courage. Ruby stayed dedicated to her education despite the negativity from white supremacist because she was determined to make a statement; nothing could stop her from exceeding her expectations. I made the decision to follow the same steps as Ruby. In honor of my mother, I remained in school and was able to gain plenty of skills, like learning to speak Spanish which enabled me to travel to the Dominican Republic to serve and inspire a large community of children overseas to pursue their education. On top of that, I earned awards and recognition for the services I took part in while in school.

Due to my success in education, I got accepted into both the colleges of my dreams. All of this would not have been possible if my mother did not enlighten my views about black activists, like Ruby Bridges, who worked hard to ensure that young men and women of color would not have to struggle to obtain an education. Despite education's brutal past of injustice, the hard work activist put forth surely paid off. I'd like to think of myself as a great example for those who succeed by putting education first and remaining steadfast to the lesson my mother taught me.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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