Last week The Political Union sponsored two exciting speakers who share their expertise with the Columbia community: civil rights activist Ruby Bridges and Cold War historian John Lewis Gaddis. In case you missed these events here are some highlights.
The most emotional moment of Veritas Forum’s interview with Ruby Bridges happened near the end of the evening. Bridges discussed the moment when she realized that she was being treated differently because of her race. As the first black student to attend an all white school, Bridges experienced a great deal of adversity, but she didn’t know what had caused it until one moment. She approached a white boy to play ball but the boy refused, saying “My parents say I can’t play with you because you are a n*****.” Bridges describes the experience as actually comforting because it meant the children avoided her not because she was mean or unlikable, but because of their parent’s prejudices. Kids don’t understand racism, Bridges explained, and naturally see all people as equal. When she works with children Bridges often role plays as a racist, saying white dogs are better than black dogs, to which one student replied “but they’re all just dogs.”
The evening ended with Bridges encouraging everyone in the Diana Center Oval to “save our own world.” Tearing up as she spoke, Bridges said “I believe in you so much, I believe you can change your world.”
Read about John Lewis Gaddis’s talk on his latest book on Geogre F. Kennen, after the jump.