The White House's recent addition of a Norman Rockwell painting has prompted a serious discussion of civil rights. Rockwell's 1963 painting, "The Problem We All Live With," shows a young girl on her way to first grade after the school board mandated the desegregation of two New Orleans schools in 1960.
To commemorate the piece, President Obama received a visit from Ruby Bridges, the student depicted in the painting. At six years old, Bridges was escorted by Federal Marshals to William Frantz Public School as its first African American student, thereby signaling the beginning of the integration of the local public school system.
President Obama took time out of his day to meet with Bridges and representatives of the Norman Rockwell Museum in order to discuss the painting, which has become an icon in the civil rights era.
She described the experience to ABC News: “Driving up I could see the crowd, but living in New Orleans, I actually thought it was Mardi Gras. There was a large crowd of people outside of the school. They were throwing things and shouting, and that sort of goes on in New Orleans at Mardi Gras."
The painting will be on display in the West Wing of the White House outside of the Oval Office until October 31st. Another Rockwell painting depicting the Statue of Liberty donated to the White House by Steven Spielberg in 1994 hangs in the same room.
See Bridges visit with President Obama and discuss the painting below: