Rounding out this week’s civil rights themed Black History Month spotlight are the “Little Rock 9.”
- Following the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court Decision, Brown v. Board, that resulted in the desegregation of public schools 9 African-American students became known for being the first students to integrate the all white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957.
- After the Brown v. Board decision, the NAACP attempted to register African American students to attend segregated schools throughout the South. Students in Little Rock 9 were chosen to enroll in Central High School because they met the criteria of good grades and attendance.
- The 9 students were: Ernest Green, Elizabeth Eckford, Jefferson Thomas, Terrence Roberts, Carlotta Walls LaNier, Minnijean Brown, Gloria Ray Carlmark, Thelma Mothershed, and Melba Beals.
- Because of the governor’s refusal to let the students attend Central High, President Dwight Eisenhower sent federal troops to escort the students inside, despite the fact that Arkansas’ governor sent members of the Arkansas National Guard to block the school’s entrance.
- Although the students successfully integrated the school, they were met with resistance from students, teachers, and white parents and were relentlessly physically and verbally harassed throughout the school year.
“Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom” ~George Washington Carver