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Gail Etienne 

Updated: Feb 1, 2021

Federal Marshal, Wallace Downs rides with Gail Etienne to McDonogh No. 19 Elementary School in New Orleans, Louisiana on November 14, 1960. (The Times-Picayune Archives)

•‬The first-grader was one of the McDonogh Three, a nickname for the three black six-year-old girls who were the first black students to enroll in the previously all-white school in the city.

•‬Even though segregated schools had been illegal since the Brown v. Board of Education case in 1954, no states in the American South had taken action to integrate their schools.

•‬Leona Tate, Gail Etienne, and Tessie Prevost had all attended the black-only schools in their neighborhood, until November 14, 1960, when they arrived at a previously all-white segregated school called McDonogh No. 19.

•‬On the same day, another six-year-old black girl named Ruby Bridges integrated a second New Orleans public school called William Frantz Elementary.