Once my school was integrated, and I was there with white kids and a few black kids, it really didn't matter to us what we looked like.
I felt like there was something I needed to do -- speaking to kids and sharing my story with them and helping them understand racism has no place in the minds and hearts of children.
When the scary subject of race is finally broached, kids want to talk and talk. It's very satisfying.
If we're gonna get past our our racial differences, it's gonna come from our kids, but they have to be together to do that.
All of our schools should be good enough to attract a healthy racial mix, which, I believe, leads to the most effective learning for everybody.
I remember what it was like at age 6, not really understanding what was going on around me, but having all these grown-up thoughts running through my head about what I was facing, why this was happening.
There are all kinds of monuments to adults -- usually dead and usually white. But we don't often lift up the extraordinary work of children.
We'd get these boxes of clothing in the mail, and my mom would say, 'What makes you think all this is for you? You've got a sister right behind you.' So then I realized, we're all in this together. We have to help each other.
It's time to get past our racial differences. We owe it to our children to help them keep their clean start.
Evil isn't prejudiced. It doesn't care what you look like; it just wants a place to rest. It's up to you whether you give it that place.
Evil looks like you and I. I know what evil looks like, and I know that it comes in all shades and colors.
I remember the first time seeing myself on TV, when my family was watching the documentary 'Eyes on the Prize' for the first time. There were pictures of people going up the school stairs, and Mom said, 'Oh, that's you!' I said, 'I can't believe this. This is important.'
When I think about our babies today and them not being safe in school, I think that should be the next civil rights movement, you know, is to ban the assault weapons so that our babies can be safe.
I would dream that this coffin had wings, and it would fly around my bed at night, and so it was a dream that happened a lot, and that's what frightened me.
If you really think about it, if we begin to teach history exactly the way that it happened -- good, bad, ugly, no matter what -- I believe that we're going to find that we are closer, more connected than we are apart.
As African-Americans, people of that generation felt pretty much if they were going to see changes in the world, they had to make sacrifices and step up to the plate. I'm very proud that my parents happened to be people who did. They were not privileged to have a formal education.
Each and every one of us is born with a clean heart. Our babies know nothing about hate or racism. But soon they begin to learn -- and only from us. We keep racism alive. We pass it on to our children. We owe it to our children to help them keep their clean start.
Don't follow the path. Go where there is no path and begin the trail. When you start a new trail equipped with courage, strength and conviction, the only thing that can stop you is you!
I never got the chance to meet Linda Brown; there were several times we were supposed to meet or be on the same stage together, but life gets in the way, and it never happened.
Somehow, it always worked. Kneeling at the side of my bed and talking to the Lord made everything okay.
My family -- my mother and father had gone through such a hard time that by the time I graduated from sixth grade, they were separated.
We have tolerance, respect, and equality in our written laws but not in the hearts of some of our people.
I've seen schools in Detroit where the windows are broken, where there's no heat, and children are sitting with their coats on in class in the middle of a snowstorm. I've also seen schools in California with Olympic-sized swimming pools and cafeterias like five-star restaurants.
The mission of the Ruby Bridges Foundation is to create educational opportunities like science camp that allow children from different racial, cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds to build lasting relationships.
If kids have the oportunity to come together to get to know one another, they can judge for themselves who they want their friends to be. All children should have that choice. We, as adults, shouldn't make those choices for children. That's how racism starts.
Every day, I would show up, and there were no kids, just me and my teacher in my classroom. Every day, I would be escorted by marshals past a mob of people protesting and boycotting the school. This went on for a whole year.
We may not all be equally guilty. But we are all equally responsible for building a decent and just society.
The greatest lesson I learned that year in Mrs. Henry's class was the lesson Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to teach us all: Never judge people by the color of their skin. God makes each of us unique in ways that go much deeper.