While other kids flaunted their superhero and cartoon character costumes on Monday (hey, nothing wrong with that!), six-year-old Jodie was paying homage to black history.
Jodie, who lives in Arkansas, dressed up as 6-year-old Ruby Bridges, the first black student to attend an all-white school in the south. Her dad, a U.S. Marshal, posed next to Jodie before going into work that morning. He acted as one of the marshals who escorted Bridges to and from her Louisiana school in November 1960 in the photo.
Jodie’s mom, Brandy Coates Thornton, shared that her daughter’s costume was for her school’s book character parade when she shared a photo on Facebook on Monday. Because of Them We Can reposted the photo on Instagram shortly after and it has gained more than 12,000 likes.
Thornton told The Huffington Post that Jodie’s costume was a last-minute decision. Before school on Monday, Thornton went through her daughters books and asked her if she wanted to be Bridges. They talked about her story and Jodie was so moved by her story that she choose to dress in her likeness.
“Mama, I really do look like Ruby Bridges. I wish she had someone like you to walk her to school,” Thornton recalled her daughter telling her.
Thornton, who said her parents were integrated into all-white schools in 1971, told HuffPost that she didn’t realize how important her daughter’s photo was until people began sharing it, especially for those who experienced the dawn of integration.
“These are people we still live with... this is still relevant now,” she said. “You just never know how an act so simple can mean so much to so many people on so many levels. I just never imagined that this would touch so many people... we’re not forgetting our history.”