Just before the holidays two years ago I was called by my friend at American Heroes Channel, Kyle Russell. They were looking for someone to do a small piece for Black History Month and they wanted to do based around a scheduled unveiling of a stature of Ruby Bridges, one of the first African-American children to integrate public schools in New Orleans. Not long after, Ruby had been immortalized in a Norman Rockwell painting showing her as a small girl walking to school surrounded by Federal Marshals.
All the key players were going to be at the ceremony, including one of the four Federal Marshals who guarded Ruby that first year, the teacher who taught Ruby for a year in a class of one, plus Ruby herself.
Kyle was not sure what the Network needed story-wise but asked if I would be willing to head to New Orleans, interview everyone, and see if we could craft a short piece for airing during Black History Month. So I headed down south with Producer Jaycen Armstrong, iconoclast Richie Trimble and our client Kyle for a few long days of shooting, early morning beignets, and late night cocktails.
New Orleans is one my favorite places and I have always harbored a secret dream of moving there someday. So that made the job fun right off the bat.
But Ruby herself was a pretty amazing woman and it was special to get to know her over the next couple of days. What was most interesting after interviewing Ruby, her marshal and her teacher was once again that so often our world is shaped by those who are not looking for the responsibility of history, and perhaps may not even want it.
But in their simple decision to do what they thought was right, to them a small momentary choice, those actions ended up having large historical repercussions for our nation.
So that was the story we found, and what I cut into the piece. I was told the network liked what we did enough to change the music and replace with stills they had the rights to, but to air the cut we did.