An iconic image of the civil rights movement in the United States, it depicts Ruby Bridges, a six-year-old African-American girl, on her way in to an all-white public school in New Orleans on November 14, 1960 during the process of racial desegregation. Because of threats and violence against her, she is escorted by four U.S. Deputy Marshals; the painting is framed such that the marshals' heads are cropped at the shoulders.On the wall behind her is written the racial slur "nigger" and the letters "KKK"; a smashed tomato thrown at Bridges is also visible. The white crowd is not visible, as the viewer is looking at the scene from their point of view. The painting was originally published as a centerfold in the January 14, 1964 issue of Look.
The New-York Historical Society exhibition, Rockwell, Roosevelt, & the Four Freedoms is the inspiration for the NYHistory Store's merchandise. The traveling exhibition, which was organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, Massachusetts, explores how Rockwell’s 1943 paintings—Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Fear, and Freedom from Want—gave visual voice to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s call to the defense of freedom worldwide and took their place among the most enduring images in the history of American art. On view through September 2, 2018.