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A federal judge had ordered New Orleans to open its public schools to African-American children. White parents in the community decided to keep their children at home if this verdict was enforced. They made it known that any African-American children who came to school would suffer the consequences. So the African-American children, in fear, stayed home too.

That is, everyone except six year old Ruby Bridges. Her parents sent her to school all by herself. Every morning she walked alone through a heckling crowd to an empty school. White people lined up on both sides of the way and shook their fists at her. They threatened to do terrible things to her if she kept coming to school. But every morning at ten minutes til, eight Ruby walked, head up, eyes ahead, straight through the mob; two U.S. marshals walked ahead of her and two walked behind her. Then she spent the day alone with her teachers inside that big silent school building.

Robert Coles a Harvard professor was curious about what went into the making of courageous children like Ruby Bridges. He interviewed Ruby’s mother and, in his book "The Moral Life of Children," tells what she said: "There’s a lot of people who talk about doing good, and a lot of people who argue about what’s good and what’s not good, but there are other folks who just put their lives on the line for what is right."

Knowing the difference between right and wrong is one of the greatest battles raging in our culture, but taking the next step is quite scary. It requires great courage. The kind of courage that changes lives.

(From a sermon by Scott Chambers, "Jesus: The Original Angler" 6/29/2009)

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