The mother of an icon of the civil rights movement has died.
Lucille Bridges was 86 years old.
She was the mother of Ruby Bridges, the 6-year-old child who had to be escorted into her segregated New Orleans elementary school and whose image was immortalized by Norman Rockwell in the painting “The Problem We All Live With," The Associated Press reported.
The painting shows Ruby, dressed in white and carrying her school supplies, surrounded by U.S. Marshals taking her to class.
She became a force in the civil rights movement, fighting for equality.
Ruby Bridges credited her parents as the reason she made history, becoming the first Black child to attend the formerly all-white school.
“My parents are the real heroes. They (sent me to that public school) because they felt it was the right thing to do,” Ruby Bridges said of her mother, according to the U.S Marshals Service and the AP.
Lucille Bridges wanted her daughter to get the education she never had and that’s why she made the decision to send Ruby as a first grader to William Frantz Elementary School in 1960.
Tuesday, she wrote of her mother’s death, calling her “a Mother of the Civil Rights Movement,” the AP reported.
“Today our country lost a hero. Brave, progressive, a champion for change. She helped alter the course of so many lives by setting me out on my path as a six year old little girl. Our nation lost a Mother of the Civil Rights Movement today. And I lost my mom. I love you and am grateful for you. May you Rest In Peace,” Ruby Bridges wrote on Instagram.
Lucille Bridges was born to sharecroppers in Mississippi and didn’t complete elementary school. WGNO said she had only a third-grade education since normally children would work in the fields along their parents, not attend school, at the time she was a child.
Once married, she and her husband moved to New Orleans for better work and better education for their children, the National Women’s History Museum said.
Lucille Bridges' husband, Abon Bridges, died in 1978, the AP reported.
Lucille Bridges died in her sleep Tuesday morning, WGNO reported.
Cox Media Group