Ruby was born in 1954. At the time, African-American children and white children had to attend separate schools. Segregation, or the separation of African American and white people, was practiced by law. Schools were not the only segregated areas in Ruby's community. Ruby and her family had to use separate drinking fountains, bathrooms, and buses. Many of the schools and facilities available to African American citizens were not as good as those for white citizens. Ruby's mother did not want Ruby to attend a segregated school because the white school in the neighborhood was closer and better equipped. Mrs. Bridges believed that with a better education, Ruby would have more opportunities.
Segregation meant that African Americans used separate schools, drinking fountains, bathrooms and buses.