Liskow & Lewis celebrated Black History Month with Ruby Bridges, the first African-American child to integrate an elementary school in the South, and Judge Brian Jackson of the United States District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana (and a former Shareholder at Liskow & Lewis). While practicing at Liskow, Judge Jackson initiated the firm’s first formal celebration of Black History Month, a tradition which is now in its 15th year.
Judge Jackson first learned of Ruby Bridges’ story through Norman Rockwell’s historic painting “The Problem We All Live With.” The painting captures the bravery of the six-year-old girl who was advised by U.S. marshals to “walk straight ahead, and don’t look back” as she integrated William Frantz, an all-white elementary school in New Orleans. Judge Jackson met Ruby when he reconnected her with one of the U.S. marshals depicted in the painting.
Ruby’s participation in desegregation followed the 1954 Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education. Brown v. Board overturned the 1896 decision Plessy v. Ferguson, unanimously ruling that racial segregation was unconstitutional. The firm previously reflected on the history of civil rights and the significance of Plessy v. Ferguson at its 2018 program with the founders of the Plessy & Ferguson Foundation.
Nearly 60 years following integration in the South, Ruby Bridges continues to share her story—encouraging others to learn from history and make a stand for change. Ruby experienced the reality of racism and hatred at a very young age. At the firm’s program, she shared the vivid details of her first day at an all-white school and the isolating months that followed.
George Arceneaux, a member of the firm’s Board of Directors and Diversity Committee, recounted this year’s program saying, “Few things are truly moving, but Ruby’s witness — her experience and her faith in the overriding goodness of people — was a light shining in a time when we experience too much negativity.”
Ruby’s story and her continued fight for change is a touching reminder of the history that is still left to be made. Liskow & Lewis was honored to celebrate its 15th annual Black History Month Program with such special guests who paved the way for the diverse culture that is present today.
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