The Amistad Research Center is excited to announce the award of a 2016 Basic Preservation Grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation. The award will preserve an 8mm home movie depicting Ruby Bridges. The film was taken at William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, shortly after Bridges integrated it as its first African American student. The grant will fund the creation of a new preservation master of the film, as well as a much needed access copy, which will be made available to researchers for viewing.
Following the Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954, four young girls were chosen to integrate two schools in Orleans parish in Louisiana as first graders. On November 14, 1960, Bridges was escorted by United States marshals as the lone student integrating William Frantz Elementary. The moment was later commemorated by Norman Rockwell in his famous painting, The Problem We All Live With, which was published as the centerfold of Look magazine in 1964. The painting was later installed outside the Oval Office in the White House by President Barack Obama.
This brief film from the Alan Wieder collection at Amistad depicts Bridges with four White students at William Frantz Elementary School, likely toward the end of the first grade year in 1961. The film begins with black and white footage of picketers outside the school. It is followed by color footage of children playing and sitting outside the school, including Ruby Bridges. It was shot by Josie Ritter, a teacher at William Frantz.
Amistad is one of 64 institutions receiving an NFPF preservation grant this year. For the full list, visit the NFPF website.
Images from the Alan Wieder collection. Images from Amistad’s website, newsletters, and blogs cannot be reproduced without permission.