Obama Approves Installation of 'Ruby Bridges' Painting at White House
Alex Alvarez/Politico | 8/29/2011, 1:09 p.m.
President Barack Obama last month approved the installation of Norman Rockwell's famous work, The Problem We All Live With. The painting depicts the racial tension at play as 6-year-old Ruby Bridges makes her way to William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans, escorted by U.S. Marshals dispatched by President Eisenhower.
Bridges is known as the first black child to attend a formerly all-white school following court-mandated integration. (She lives in New Orleans to this day, where she is now chair of The Ruby Bridges Foundation.)
Politico noted that up until now, the painting's placement in the White House was never mentioned publicly by President Obama. But evidently, it was Bridges herself -- with the help of Louisiana's Senator Mary Landrieu (D), Georgia Rep. John Lewis (D) and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (D) -- who convinced the President to display the painting in the White House:
"It did have a lot to do with this particular president," Bridges said. "He is a president of mixed race. So I believe he is about the same things that I am. You cannot look at a person and judge him or her by the color of their skin. ... I did feel if anyone would hang the painting, it would be him."
Last month, Bridges stopped by the White House to see the painting in its new -- though temporary -- home.
"I think it's fair to say that if it hadn't been for you guys, I might not be here, and we might not be looking at this together," Obama told her, according to a videotape on the White House website.