NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) —The Louisiana Civil Rights Trail unveiled it’s eighth historical marker at what was once William Frantz Elementary School to honor Rub Bridges. The building is now home to Akili Academy.
Ruby Bridges, at age six, integrated her school on November 14th, 1960. Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser reflects on the bravery of Ruby Bridges and her mother, the late Lucille Bridges saying, “if you have the passion, love and determination, you can make a difference. That small step into the school in 1960, changed the hearts and minds of a lot of people. Just imagine the bravery it took. When I walked in the school, I got goosebumps just thinking back of a small black girl breaking down that barrier.”
Lt. Governor Nungesser began the mission of creating the Louisiana Civil Rights Trail after noticing the state of Louisiana didn’t have one.
“I went to Arizona and learned about Alabama’s Civil Rights trail and I leaned over and looked at Doug and asked if Louisiana had one. He said no. I came home and was a little embarrassed,” says Nungesser.
Ruby Bridges herself, wasn’t able to attend the celebration because of a prior speaking engagement. Her legacy was ever present, as her likeness is part of the symbol of the Louisiana Civil Rights trail.
“We’re excited about what these trails will bring to tourism and also the educational part that will tell the story and recognize those brave heroes of that era,” says Nungesser.
There are six more markers to be unveiled. Additionally there was an announcement of a temporary home for the long-awaited Louisiana Civil Rights Museum. The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, will be the home, while the permanent brick and mortar building is sourced.
“The civil rights museum will be a kick off point, for people to see all the things we’ve uncovered around the state. Hopefully it will lead to people getting on a bus for tours around Louisiana to visit the sites,” says Nungesser.