Mar 15, 2021

A Conversation With Ruby Bridges

The Iconic Civil Rights Activist Visits the Outer Banks

We’ve had several opportunities to converse with Ruby Bridges over the past few years during her trips to the Outer Banks. The iconic American civil rights activist shared her story with Clark Twiddy in the spring of 2021 as she cooked gumbo at her OBX vacation home. More recently, Island Bookstore in Corolla hosted Ruby for a book signing in late 2022.

Ruby Bridges by Dawn Moraga
Ruby Bridges by Outer Banks artist Dawn Moraga

Ruby’s Story

At six years old, Ruby Bridges was the first African-American child to desegregate all-white William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans in November of 1960. During our first chat with Ruby, she retold her story in incredible detail, from the federal marshals showing up to escort her to her new school, to not fully understanding the significance of what was happening since she was so young. Ruby spoke fondly about how Mrs. Henry, her teacher, made school a fun and safe place that she looked forward to going to every day.

Today, Ruby is a civil rights activist, and she actively speaks with children around the country about the racism she experienced and the racism that exists today. 

Ruby’s first walk into school is commemorated in many beautiful works of art, including the one shown here by local Outer Banks artist Dawn Moraga. Norman Rockwell’s 1964 painting The Problem We All Live With is on the cover of Ruby’s book, This Is Your Time, and is widely recognized as an iconic depiction of the Civil Rights Movement. 

“She made school fun. I loved school and I knew that if I just got past the crowd and inside my classroom, I was going to have a great day. And it was because of her. She showed me her heart. “

-Ruby Bridges, speaking about her teacher, Mrs. Henry


“We had to go through that during the civil rights movement to get us to where we are today.”

-Ruby Bridges

Ruby’s First Visit to the Outer Banks

In the spring of 2021, Ruby cooked gumbo during her conversation with Clark Twiddy. Being from New Orleans, Louisiana, gumbo is Ruby’s specialty. She stated that gumbo came about when poor people would take everything in the fridge, put it in a soup pot, and enjoy it as an event. Ruby prepared her gumbo using fresh Outer Banks seafood, straight from the docks in Wanchese, NC. 

Ruby enjoyed her time at her Duck vacation home, and she had spectacular weather for her first visit to the Outer Banks. She was gracious enough to answer some questions from zoom viewers. At the time, her favorite show was Bridgerton on Netflix, and her favorite animal is a goat. We are so grateful that Ruby took time out of her OBX vacation to meet with us and share her story. Ruby and Clark’s chat was shared virtually with Twiddy homeowners and other members of the OBX community via Zoom. 

Ruby’s Most Recent Visit to the Outer Banks

In late 2022, during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, Island Bookstore hosted Ruby Bridges for a book signing as part of Corolla Chrismas Village. Her new book, I am Ruby Bridges: How One Six-Year-Old Girl’s March to School Changed the World, tells her amazing story from a child’s perspective. Fans from near and far came and waited patiently to meet the Civil Rights Icon.

Learn More About Ruby Bridges

This Is Your Time is available for purchase from booksellers everywhere, including local OBX favorite Duck’s Cottage. For those with an Apple Watch, Time to Walk with Ruby Bridges is available on Apple Fitness+. The 1998 Disney movie Ruby Bridges is currently streaming on Disney+.

Ruby Bridges’ new children’s book, I Am Ruby Bridges: How One Six-Year-Old Girl’s March to School Changed the World, is now available online.

Courtney Wisecarver

Courtney Wisecarver

Mar 15, 2021

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