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This Happened

This Happened—November 14: A First Step in Desegregation

Ruby Bridges walked into the first desegrated school on this day 62 years ago. Her story later became the subject of a famous Norman Rockwell painting, titled “The Problem We All Live With”.

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Who was Ruby Bridges?

Ruby Bridges became a hero of the U.S. Civil Rights movement on November 14, 1960 when she entered William Frantz elementary school in Louisiana, becoming the first African-American child to attend a traditionally all-white school in the deep south.

It was an act that required tremendous courage from the nine-year-old school girl, and would help progressively de-segregate public schools in the South.

What happened after Ruby Bridges entered the all-white school?

Her arrival sparked angry protests, and even after the protests subsided people continued to make threats on her life. Bridges was in constant danger and confined to a class and a teacher with no other students, since the other parents of the school refused to allow their children to be in class with her. Nevertheless, Bridges excelled in school and helped to pave the way for other African American children to get an education.

Her story later became the subject of a famous Norman Rockwell painting, titled “The Problem We All Live With”. The painting recalls images of Ruby Bridges being escorted to school, like the ones in the photo, while also representing the persistent threats against her as graffiti on the wall behind her. It now resides in the White House.

Where is Ruby Bridges now?

Ruby still lives in New Orleans, where she runs the Ruby Bridges Foundation to help troubled children at William Frantz and other schools. Ruby travels around the United States advocating for the importance of education and integration of students in schools.

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food / travel

Pasta v. Fascists: How Italy's Staple Dish Became A Symbol Of Resistance

Pasta may not be considered controversial today, but it played an important role during Italy's fascist years, particularly in one family's celebration of community and liberation.

Photo of the Cervi family.

Photo of the Cervi family, whose seven children were shot by the Fascists on December 28, 1943, at the Reggio Emilia shooting range.

@comunisti_alla_ribalta via Instagram
Jacopo Fontaneto

ROME — Eighty years ago — on July 25, 1943 — the vote of no confidence by the Grand Council of Fascism, leading to Benito Mussolini's arrest, set off widespread celebrations. In Campegine, a small village in the Emilian province, the Cervi family celebrated in their own way: they brought 380 kilograms of pasta in milk cans to the town square and offered it to all the inhabitants of the village.

The pasta was strictly plain: macaroni dressed with butter and cheese, seen as more of a "festive dish" in that period of deprivation. As soon as the Cervi brothers learned about the arrest of Mussolini, they procured flour, borrowed butter and cheese from the dairy, and prepared kilos and kilos of pasta. They then loaded it onto a cart to distribute it to their fellow villagers. Pastasciutta (dry pasta) specifically regards dishes with noodles that are plated "dry", not in broth. That would disqualify soup, risotto, ravioli...

Even though pastasciutta is the most stereotypical type of pasta today, it had a complicated relationship with the government during Italy's fascist years.

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