Little Rock, Arkansas

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Today Little Rock, Arkansas is better than it was in the mid 20th Century.

In in 1957 the whole world watched while white racists tried to bar black students from enrolling at a previously all white school.

In a key event of the American Civil Rights Movement, nine black students enrolled at formerly all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in September 1957, testing a landmark 1954 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that declared segregation in public schools unconstitutional. The court had mandated that all public schools in the country be integrated “with all deliberate speed” in its decision related to the groundbreaking case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. On September 4, 1957, the first day of classes at Central High, Governor Orval Faubus of Arkansas called in the state National Guard to bar the black students’ entry into the school. Later in the month, President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent in federal troops to escort the “Little Rock Nine” into the school, and they started their first full day of classes on September 25. [1]

When the kids arrived at the school gate the first time they were stopped and insulted.

The nine African American students arrived at the school again. They got in to the school by a delivery entrance. When a large white mob heard that they were in the school building, their anger spilled over and African Americans in the street were attacked as were reporters known to be writing for northern newspapers – only 150 local police were on standby to protect everybody from a much larger body of thugs. The mayor of the city phoned the White House to ask for Federal help fearing a total breakdown of law and order. The nine students were smuggled out of the school for their own safety and sent home. The 150 police clearly showed that they were in sympathy with the mob – one took off his badge and simply walked away. [2]

Later federal troops were sent in to ensure law and order and the kids could get to school. The black kids managed a year at the school but were regularly spat on and insulted.

See alsoEdit


  1. Integration of Central High School
  2. Little Rock Central High School

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