The John Steinbeck Award

Ruby Bridges

In Travels with Charley, Steinbeck described the travails of a six-year-old black girl chosen to integrate an all-white elementary school in the Deep South of 1960. At the time, he did not know her name. But thanks to the presentation of the Steinbeck Award to this civil rights icon on February 24, 2016, before a capacity crowd in the Student Union Ballroom, the names John Steinbeck and Ruby Bridges are now linked forever. The award presentation by Nicholas Taylor capped an evening featuring an interview of Bridges by KQED's Joshua Johnson in which Bridges called racism an adult disease and asked that we stop using children to spread it. John Steinbeck, Nobel Laureate, couldn't have said it better.