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New Iberia second graders hoping to meet civil rights activist Ruby Bridges

Posted at 5:44 PM, Mar 04, 2020

NEW IBERIA — 8-year-old Issac Archangel was a new student only a few months ago, but those first day jitters went away quickly thanks to his new best friend Tate.

"If Tate wasn't here, I would not have any friends here. I would feel scared, sad," Archangel said.

During Black History Month, these 2nd grade students at Jefferson Island Road Elementary School in New Iberia learned their mere friendship is only possible because of civil rights activists like Ruby Bridges, who paved the way for future generations. Bridges was the first African-American child to desegregate the all-white William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans in 1960.

"In their days, it was scary, because black people can't go to white people school, so Ruby was scared because people throwing stuff and holding up signs," said Archangel. "Without Rosa Parks, Ruby, Martin Luther King, if we didn't have these people, there would still be segregation now in 2020."

He and his classmates now want to meet Bridges.

"We really want to know more about you, and learn how you did it, and learn how to be brave just like you," student Natalie Prioux said in a plea to Bridges.

Their teacher, Mary Moore, says she has reached Bridges' agent.

"One of my students actually inspired me to do some research and see what I can do to get her to come to our school and get her to tell them her story," Moore said.

The class made a Youtube video in an effort to get Bridges' attention.

"We were going to try to bribe her with food if the Youtube video doesn't work out. Hopefully by the end of the year, we have good news. It'll be a very memorable end to their 2nd grade year," Moore said.

The Iberia Parish School Board is in the process of arranging a speaking engagement with Bridges. We'll keep you posted here on KATC if Bridges is able to visit the students.