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By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Directed by Euzhan Paley
Walt Disney 02/00 DVD/VHS Feature Film
In 1960, first grader Ruby Bridges made history in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she advanced the cause of integration in an all-white public school. Toni Ann Johnson has written the screenplay for this fact-based account of her courage.
Thanks to her good grades, Ruby (Chaz Monet) is chosen by the NAACP to be a pioneer in breaking down the walls of segregation. Relying upon the Christian admonitions of her mother (Lela Rochon) and the moral support of her father (Michael Beach), this brave little black girl is escorted by four federal marshals through a crowd of angry white protestors in front of the school. A teacher (Penelope Ann Miller) from Boston works with Ruby since none of the regular teachers will have anything to do with her.
Dr. Coles (Kevin Pollak), a psychiatrist who has worked with children under adversity, begins counseling Ruby when she refuses to eat her lunch fearing it might have been poisoned by one of the hate mongers. Tension escalates at home when her father loses his job on account of Ruby's civil rights activities. At one point, this pint-sized spiritual teacher tells Dr. Coles that she has been praying for those in the angry mob just like Jesus did when he faced the same situation.
Euzhan Paley directs this inspiring film about an exceptional black girl whose Christian faith and spiritual resiliency is a lesson for all of us. Ruby Bridges is perfect for church youth groups to discuss.
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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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