Civil Rights Icon Ruby Bridges to Speak at UW Tacoma

You’ve seen the Norman Rockwell painting of a proud little girl in a stark white dress, holding a book and ruler and walking up to her school building flanked by armed federal marshals. That day, November 14, 1960, a six-year-old girl named Ruby Bridges made history. Ruby braved angry mobs of people and did the unthinkable in New Orleans at the time…became the first African-American child to integrate one of the area’s all-white schools. Norman Rockwell captured that moment for Look magazine, in what would become an iconic piece of American art, and make Ruby famous. On May 21 at 2 pm, the Tacoma Art Museum will host Ruby Bridges at University of Washington-Tacoma’s Philip Hall to share her story about those tumultuous times.

Norman Rockwell’s depiction of Ruby Bridges’ brave walk to school, titled The Problem We All Live With, was his first assignment for Look magazine in 1963 after ending his 47-year working relationship with the Saturday Evening Post. Norman Rockwell chose to depict more socially conscious and sometimes controversial issues of the time. And over fifty years later, Ruby’s story is just as powerful.

For more information about Ruby Bridges, visit her foundation’s website at The Art of Norman Rockwell will be featured at the Tacoma Art Museum through Memorial Day, Monday, May 30. For tickets and more information, go online to

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    Finally, for better or for worse, I sincerely doubt that the discussions which took place behind closed doors during negotiations and during the formation of the Friends group will ever be made entirely transparent. The value of examining it is, at best, marginal. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing but I know I won’t lose sleep over it. Instead, I think it’s part of an end result of a faulty system of governance which led to such a destructive negotiation. As such, studying those root causes and how orchestras elsewhere can avoid it would be a course of action I would support. ~ Drew McManus

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