Tuesday, September 25, 2007

50th Anniversary of the Little Rock Nine

On September 25, 1957 President Dwight Eisenhower sent 1,000 members of the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army to escort and protect nine black students as they attended their first full day of classes at Central High School in Little Rock. Prior to the federal deployment, white segregationists and the Arkansas National Guard -- ordered by Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus -- blocked the nine students from entering the racially segregated school. The white mobs sought to keep the students out in defiance of the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court. This decision declared that the "separate but equal" doctrine that kept schools segregated was unconstitutional. Little Rock high schools were to integrate by September, 1957.

Check out Guardians of Freedom: 50th Anniversary of Operation Arkansas from the U.S. Army. You might also want to read the statement from the White House on the integration of Central High School.

Read "A Little Rock Reminder: Nine Pioneers Showed Why School Integration Matters" from the Washington Post and "Little Rock Nine Mark 50th Anniversary of High School Integration" from FOX News.

Want more information? Check out the library's guides on black history and civil rights.

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