Ruby Bridges, Age 6, 1960 © Willa Downes

Ruby Bridges, Age 6, 1960

Willa Downes

Fairfax, Virginia, USA

Artist Statement

Every year I taught kindergarten, first and second grade, I read the book, “The Story of Ruby Bridges” by Robert Cole to my class. I began by asking the children how many of them were six years old. I felt it was important for them to know the story of a real child, their age, who was so brave and who helped change the world. This quilt presents the courage of one six year old child.

Woman’s Groundbreaking Accomplishment

Ruby Bridges, six years old, ended segregation in New Orleans public schools in 1960.


I printed fabric using a self-designed thermofax screen. I then quilted the fabric and added the applique.


cotton, thread, self-designed thermofax screen, paint and felt

Credit: Sue Price (PGFiber2Art) for making thermofax screen