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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Happy Birthday Norman Rockwell-Thank You Ruby Bridges

I’m writing this post quickly so I won’t miss my school bus. Today is Norman Rockwell’s birthday. I’m sure you’ve seen many of his illustrations before, even if you’re not familiar with his name. Mr. Rockwell created the illustrations for the covers of the Saturday Evening Post magazine for years. His signature theme was small-town, white America. Even a little, postmodern, inner-city brown girl like me can appreciate his work. But it is Mr. Rockwell’s painting of The Problem We All Live With that earned him a place in my heart. He recognized that the United States had an ugly, racist side that had to be exposed. In The Problem We All Live With, Rockwell shows Ruby Bridges, a little seven-year old, African-America girl being escorted to school by US Federal Marshalls. This was during the early 1960’s in New Orleans. Each day, this little girl, as she entered school had to contend with hundreds of white adults screaming racial slurs at her and telling her she didn’t belong at an all-white school.

Check out Mr. Rockwell’s painting. Look at the tomato thrown against the wall. Mr. Rockwell made that tomato, that object of hatred, rise into an eagle of hope. Today, I say happy birthday to Mr. Rockwell and I’m giving a big thank you to Ruby Bridges for paving the way for me to get a quality education.

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