Dana Warren, the granddaughter of Bill O’Riordan, a friend and classmate of mine at St. Michael’s High School, pulled off one of the biggest deals of her life. As a 4th grader, Dana read “Through My Eyes”, a memoir by Civil Rights icon Ruby Bridges and was inspired enough to write a letter to Bridges asking her to speak at her Westhampton Elementary School. Because the cost of the flight from Louisiana and the lodging to secure Bridges was well beyond the reach of her school, the 9 year old Warren persevered and wrote another letter to Smith College proposing a deal where if the College would pay for Ruby Bridge’s expenses, they could then share her for a day so that Bridges could speak at her elementary school in the morning and then speak at Smith College in the afternoon. Miraculously, the deal came together with Smith College agreeing to pay for Bridges expenses. Yesterday, February 2, 2018, Bridges was able to spend an intimate morning with Warren and her schoolmates and when she arrived at Smith’s John M. Greene Hall, she was greeted by a standing room crowd of 2,000. There she continued to share her soul and incredible story story of how she became the first African American student to integrate into the all-white Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans. For months, the 6 year old Bridges was escorted to and from Frantz while she was escorted by four federal marshals.
To insure the privacy of Bridges’ visit with the schoolchildren of Westhampton Elementary, I was asked not to do any video recording, however, I was allowed to capture this moment of Ruby Bridges and Dana Warren , Anything is Possible, and it is one of my proudest photographs. To read the complete story written by Sarah Robertson of the Daily Hampshire Gazette please visit: