11 Eye-Opening and Inspiring Quotes From Civil Rights Activist Ruby Bridges

Civil rights activist Ruby Bridges has been sharing the experiences that changed the course of her life for years and sparked a light in our hearts.

Kori Williams - Author

Mar. 20 2024, Published 2:45 p.m. ET

Ruby Bridges at the Glamour's 2017 Women of The Year Awards at Kings Theatre in 2017.
Source: Getty Images

Social justice activist and author Ruby Bridges made her mark on the world before she ever knew the gravity of her actions. At 6 years old, on Nov. 14, 1960, she became the first Black student to attend an integrated school in the U.S.

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Over the years, Bridges' legacy has continued to bloom from this particular time in her life. She's used the momentum her childhood gave her to develop a career around ending the ties that racism can have on today's children. During her career, she's spoken publicly multiple times and written multiple books, including Dear Ruby, Hear Our Hearts, which was released in January 2024.

Ruby Bridges at 6 years old.
Source: Getty Images
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Check out these inspiring quotes from Ruby Bridges.

"We have to judge each other by what's in our heart, and that will bring us together and unite us. That alone will defeat the evil or the bad that's in the world. I think what keeps me hopeful is that we will do that and that our kids will push us to do that."

Bridges said this in a November 2020 interview with USA Today.

"You cannot look at a person and tell whether they are good or bad. It’s time to get past our racial differences. We owe it to our children to help them keep their clean start."

In a speech at Memorial Church at Harvard University in April 2002, Bridges spoke about what her mother taught her about racism.

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"My parents, both of them were sharecroppers from a little tiny town in Mississippi. Being educated was a luxury for them. If it was time for them to get the crops in they couldn't go to school. So my mother jumped at the opportunity, signed me up, and there I was headed to this integrated school."

Bridges spoke about her parents' decision to send her to an integrated school in an interview on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Ruby Bridges at HISTORYTalks 2022
Source: Getty Images
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"When I arrived on the first day, the mob of people standing outside rushed inside of the building behind me. I was escorted to the principal's office, where I sat the whole day with my mom, waiting to be assigned to a classroom. That did not happen because every one of those parents rushed in behind me, went into every classroom. And they pulled out every time. I watched them parade right past me out of the school building. And so by the time I got there on the second day, the school was totally empty."

Bridges spoke about her first day at an integrated school in a September 2022 interview with NPR.

"If we're ever going to get passed our racial differences in this country or in the world that is going to come from our children. They come into the world with a very special gift."

Bridges said this in an interview on TODAY with Hoda & Jenny

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Ruby Bridges at HISTORYTalks 2022 being interviewed by 'Entertainment Tonight.'
Source: Getty Images

"And that evil is not prejudiced, that evil just needs an opportunity to work through you. It made me realize that I had a lot more work to do that all of us, no matter what we look like, we all have a common enemy. And that is evil. If we don't understand that and come together, then evil will win."

Bridges gave this quote to WBUR about losing her late son, Craig Hall, to gun violence.

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"Whenever good prevails we have much to be proud of." Bridges said this in her 2014 TED Talk.

"It was a struggle but we are not where we used to be." Bridges declared this in a 2024 interview on The Today Show.

"Out of the commandments, if you could only keep one, the one you should keep is 'love thy neighbor.' That is the key." Bridges stated this in an interview with CBN News.

"I believe freedom is about having the opportunity to dream, to have visions, to be able to pursue those dreams and those visions." Bridges said this in a 2019 interview with the Norman Rockwell Museum.

"Racism is a grown-up disease. Let's stop using our kids to spread it." Bridges has this quote of hers on her website homepage.

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