Delacorte Press to Publish Civil Rights Icon Ruby Bridges’ New Book for Young People This Fall
Civil rights activist and icon Ruby Bridges has written a new book for young people, THIS IS YOUR TIME, to be published by Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, it was announced by Barbara Marcus, President & Publisher. The book is the first from Bridges in over twenty years and will be released November 10, 2020, just a few days prior to the sixtieth anniversary of her becoming the first Black student to attend the all-white William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans on November 14, 1960, as a six-year-old. Beverly Horowitz, Senior Vice President and Publisher, Delacorte Press, acquired World Rights from Lance Volland and will edit the project. The title will release with a first printing of 200,000 copies.
Inspired by the recent wave of activism for racial justice led by young people, Ruby Bridges lends the weight of her voice—the voice of living history—to encouraging generations to come in THIS IS YOUR TIME. The book contains a powerful essay by Bridges, with black-and-white photographs from the 1960s, as well as of what is happening in the nation and around the world today. The text is written as a letter from Bridges to readers, recounting her experience integrating the New Orleans public school system and culminating in a call to action for a new generation of young activists and adults to unite.
The beautifully designed volume features jacket art selected by Bridges, which shows a portion of Norman Rockwell’s 1964 painting The Problem We All Live With—considered an iconic image of the civil rights movement in the United States. In the image, six-year-old Ruby is escorted by federal marshals past a wall smeared with racist graffiti and the juice of a thrown tomato. The painting originally appeared as a centerfold in the January 14, 1964, issue of Look magazine. Rockwell had ended his contract with the Saturday Evening Post the previous year due to frustration with the limits the magazine placed on his expression of political themes, and Look offered him a forum for his social interests, including civil rights and racial integration.
Ruby Bridges has dedicated her life to fighting bigotry and intolerance and has spent the last 25 years speaking directly to young people around the world, believing that they will be the ones to guide us past our racial differences. Bridges was recently named one of 100 iconic Women of the Century by USA Today.
Says Bridges: “During the first few days of watching events unfold in our country recently, I felt myself waiting for guidance and I know many were feeling the same. Having spent years speaking to young people about racism, I felt compelled to say something, and after careful consideration, I decided a letter to my young people was the way. It is that group that has given me hope for decades, and they will be the drivers of change that we want to see tomorrow. What I was seeing reminded me of what I had seen before—of the struggle that took place during my walk up those stairs as a child in 1960. I want our young people to know that the chaos that I saw then was a direct path to the rights that so many of us had yet to be privileged to. I know that they are the ones who will lead us to the rights that all of us so strongly pray for and deserve and want them to hear it from me that if they stay united and keep their eyes on the prize, change will come.”
“My admiration for Ruby and all that she stands for remains as strong today as it was over 20 years ago when she and I first met,” says Marcus. “Ruby’s story and ongoing work for racial equality is inspirational to us all, and serves as an important reminder that young people have the ability to change history. Ruby has never shied away from speaking her mind on behalf of children and the work she believes is so critical to the fight against racism, and we are honored to be part of amplifying her voice now, and for generations to come.”
Ruby Bridges will also narrate the audiobook edition of THIS IS YOUR TIME, available from Listening Library.
Ruby Bridges (@rubybridgesofficial) is a civil rights activist who at the age of six was the first Black student to integrate an all-white elementary school in New Orleans. She was born in Mississippi in 1954, the same year the United States Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision ordering the integration of public schools. Her family later moved to New Orleans, where on November 14, 1960, Bridges began attending William Frantz Elementary School, single-handedly initiating the desegregation of public education in New Orleans. Her walk to the front door of the school was immortalized in Norman Rockwell’s painting The Problem We All Live With, in Robert Coles’s book The Story of Ruby Bridges, and in the Disney movie Ruby Bridges. THIS IS YOUR TIME is her first book in over twenty years, following the publication of her award-winning autobiography, Through My Eyes.
She established the Ruby Bridges Foundation to provide leadership training programs that inspire youth and community leaders to embrace and value the richness of diversity. Bridges is the recipient of numerous awards, including the NAACP Martin Luther King Award, the Presidential Citizens Medal, and honorary doctorate degrees from Connecticut College, College of New Rochelle, Columbia University Teachers College, and Tulane University.