Tuesday, September 6, 2011

DeNeen Brown:Norman Rockwell painting of Ruby Bridges is on display at the White House

By DeNeen L. Brown,
Washington Post Staff Writer

The little girl in the painting titled “The Problem We All Live With” is walking to school in a white dress, white socks and white shoes. Her hair is parted in neat plaits and she is carrying a book and a ruler. The girl appears confident and proud, even as she is overshadowed by U.S. marshals in muted gray suits. She does not seem to notice the tomato splashed on the painted wall behind her or the racial epithet scrawled above her.

The Norman Rockwell painting, depicting the walk by 6-year-old Ruby Bridges as she integrated William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans in 1960, captures an ugly chapter in U.S. history, a transition between a past of segregation and a new era that would come.

This summer, the iconic artwork has found a temporary home — in the West Wing of the White House, just outside the Oval Office. The road to the White House began in 2008, with a suggestion from Bridges herself. After a lobbying campaign by members of Congress and others, the painting arrived in June.

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