National Civil Rights Museum Hosts 'A Conversation with Ruby Bridges and Chelsea Clinton'

Education advocates talk about their life experiences, shared interest in inspiring children

Memphis, Tennessee, UNITED STATES

Memphis, TN, Feb. 17, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Civil Rights Museum is hosting “A Conversation with Ruby Bridges and Chelsea Clinton, a virtual dialogue between two education advocates and authors on the intersection of race, class, gender and generations. The one-hour virtual event on February 25 is a sharing of personal stories, struggle, Southern roots and congruent pathways that have brought them where they are today.

The program is an interracial, intergenerational conversation between two women whose childhoods were spent in the public eye.  Freedom Award honoree Ruby Bridges and Chelsea Clinton talk about the mutual respect for the work each has done for education and equal rights.  They discuss their lives, the importance of the Civil Rights Movement and its legacy as well as the significance of the National Civil Rights Museum.

Bridges and Clinton also commemorate the 60th anniversary of Bridges-Hall’s integration of William B. Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, LA on November 14, 1960.  Before this conversation, the two had never met.

“We are honored that we could host this powerful conversation between two education advocates,” said Dr. Noelle Trent, the museum’s Director of Interpretation, Collections and Education.  “This unique conversation, presents both women in a stunning new light as they bring forth revelations about their lives and ongoing advocacy work.”

Ruby Bridges-Hall became a civil rights activist at the age of six when she was the first African American to integrate a school in the South. In 1960, Bridges-Hall was escorted to her new school by federal marshals to protect her from the angry white mob that protested daily outside the school.  White parents refused to let their children attend school as long as she was there, and white teachers refused to teach her, except one. For the entire year, Bridges-Hall was taught in a classroom alone. In midst of threats and scolding, Bridges-Hall “was a little soldier” according to the U.S marshals who protected her.

Still an activist, Bridges-Hall is the founder of the Ruby Bridges Foundation, promoting the values of tolerance, respect, and appreciation of all differences. Through education and inspiration, the foundation seeks to end racism and prejudice.  The Museum honored Bridges-Hall as one of its 2015 Freedom Award recipients. She also received the Presidential Citizens Medal of Honor from President Clinton in 2011. Her book, Through My Eyes, won the Carter G. Woodson Book Award in 2000. President Obama invited Bridges-Hall to the White House to view the Norman Rockwell painting, “The Problem We All Live With,” which displayed outside the Oval Office in 2011. The artwork depicted her as a child being escorted by U.S. marshals to school. She donated a framed print to the National Civil Rights Museum in 2016 that is now in the museum’s Brown v. Board exhibition.

As vice chair of the Clinton Foundation, Chelsea Clinton works alongside the Foundation’s leadership and partners to help create economic opportunity, improve public health and inspire civic engagement and service across the United States and around the world.  In particular, Clinton focuses on promoting early brain and language development through the Too Small to Fail initiative and empowering female entrepreneurs and women-led businesses around the world through initiatives like the Caribbean-focused Women in Renewable Energy (WIRE) Network. She also serves on the boards of the Clinton Health Access Initiative and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.


In addition to her Foundation work, Clinton also teaches at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and has written several books for young readers, including the #1 New York Times bestselling She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World in which she features Bridges-Hall.  She is also the co-author of The Book of Gutsy Women and Grandma’s Gardens with her mom Hillary Clinton.

The virtual event on Thursday, February 25, begins at 6:00pm Central.  Made possible with the support of International Paper, the event is free, however registration is required for platform access. For information and to register, visit the museum’s website. 


About the National Civil Rights Museum

The NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM, located at the historic Lorraine Motel where civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, gives a comprehensive overview of the American Civil Rights Movement from slavery to the present. Since the Museum opened in 1991, millions of visitors from around the world have come, including more than 90,000 students annually. The Museum is steadfast in its mission to chronicle the American civil rights movement and tell the story of the ongoing struggle for human rights.  It educates and serves as a catalyst to inspire action to create positive social change.  A Smithsonian Affiliate and an internationally acclaimed cultural institution, the Museum is recognized as a 2019 National Medal Award recipient by the Institute of Museums and Library Services (IMLS), the top national honor for museums and libraries.  It is a TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Top 5% U.S. Museum, USA Today's Top 10 Best American Iconic Attractions; Top 10 Best Historical Spots in the U.S. by TLC's Family Travel; Must See by the Age of 15 by Budget Travel and Kids; Top 10 American Treasures by USA Today; and Best Memphis Attraction by The Commercial Appeal and the Memphis Business Journal.

About Smithsonian Affiliations

Established in 1996, Smithsonian Affiliations is a national outreach program that develops long-term collaborative partnerships with museums and educational and cultural organizations to enrich communities with Smithsonian resources. The long-term goal of Smithsonian Affiliations is to facilitate a two-way relationship among the Affiliate organizations and the Smithsonian Institution to increase discovery and inspire lifelong learning in communities across America. More information about the Smithsonian Affiliations program and Affiliate activity is available at


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