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Celebrate literacy and Civil Rights at the Ruby Bridges Reading Festival

The festival runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022, at the National Civil Rights Museum in downtown Memphis.
Credit: AP
FILE - U.S. Deputy Marshals escort 6-year-old Ruby Bridges from William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, in this November 1960, file photo. New Orleans is marking the 61st anniversary of the integration of its public schools by four  6-year-old girls. Weekend events began with a Friday morning news conference at New Orleans City Hall and an evening screening of a video tribute to the four. A special church service and a motorcade are set for Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/File)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022, it’s all about literacy and reading at the National Civil Rights Museum. The museum is hosting the Ruby Bridges Reading Festival.

Civil Rights and literacy advocate Ruby Bridges was the first Black child to attend an all-White elementary school in Louisiana in 1960, when she was six-years-old. Her parents had responded to a request by the NAACP to help integrate the New Orleans school system.

Since that time. Bridges has been on a mission to promote literacy, equal rights, and tolerance in order to promote understanding between people from all backgrounds.

Bridges received the 2015 National Civil Rights Museum’s Freedom Award in 2015, and implemented the festival in Memphis after receiving the honor.

More than 10,000 children’s books are usually given out during the festival. Children in pre-K and elementary school not only get free books, but also listen to storytelling and other entertainment. There will also be music, balloon art, magic shows, and crafts.

Guest authors include:

  • Ruby Bridges, author of Through My Eyes, Ruby Bridges Goes to School, This Is Your Time, This Is My Story, and I Am Ruby Bridges.
  • Joan Trumpauer Mulholland author of She Stood for Freedom.
  • Nikkolas Smith illustrator of I Am Ruby Bridges
  • Nancy Churnin author of Martin and Anne, Beautiful Shades of Brown, and Charlie Takes His Shot
  • Michael Waters and daughter Liberty Waters, who is the subject of Liberty’s Civil Rights Road Trip.

The festival runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, 2022.

The festival will resume its annual season in May 2023. The format is picnic-style on the grounds of the museum’s Founders Park and courtyard, rain or shine. Guests are encouraged to bring blankets. In case of rain, the festival will take place inside the museum’s boarding house.

For more information visit civilrightsmuseum.org.

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