In November 1960, when Ruby Bridges became the first African-American student to integrate a white Louisiana elementary school, Charles Burks was one of four federal marshals who escorted her to William Frantz Elementary School as an angry crowd stood outside.
Bridges, who is now 58, reunited Thursday with Burks, 91, for a special conversation about the historic moment, which was filmed for The Children's Museum of Indianapolis permanent exhibit called "The Power of Children." Burks is the only marshal who is still alive.
"Thank you Charlie for doing what was right at a time when it might not have been the easiest thing to do," she told Burks.
Associated Press reports:
Burks said escorting Bridges to school was a highlight of his life, adding that he supported the landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision that struck down segregation in public schools. Bridges was in first-grade when she started attending William Frantz Elementary School on Nov. 14, 1960, as the court-ordered integration of public schools began in New Orleans.
"It was a privilege to be able to do what I did, even though it was one of my duties. Everybody says it was just another job to do, but it was a wonderful job," said Burks, who lives in Logansport, Ind.
Before Thursday's meeting Bridges and Burks had reunited only once, in 1995, since 1960.
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(Photo: AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
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