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Imagine that it's the night before your first day of High School. You're filled with excitement, fear and tension. You wonder what the school will be like. Will the classes be hard? Will the students like you? Will the teachers be friendly? You want to fit in. Your stomach is full of butterflies as you try to sleep and wonder what tomorrow will be like.
Now imagine that you are a black student in 1957 preparing to go to Little Rock Central High School to attempt what seemed impossible -- the integration of public schools. These students were aware of what the public thought of their entering into a "white" high school. They didn't worry about fitting in. Most whites, including the governor at the time, Orval Faubus, stood against them. Most troubling to the students was the fact that many blacks thought that the integration of Central would cause more trouble for their race than good.
The night before Thelma Mothershed, Elizabeth Eckford, Melba Pattillo, Jefferson Thomas, Ernest Green, Minniejean Brown, Carlotta Walls, Terrence Roberts and Gloria Ray, or the "Little Rock Nine" as history remembers them, were to enter into high school was not a peaceful night of sleep. It was a night filled with hate. Faubus declared that integration was an impossibility in a televised statement and instructed the Arkansas National Guard to surround Central High and keep all blacks out of the school. They did keep them out for that first day of class.
Daisy Bates instructed the students to wait for her on Wednesday, the second day of school, and planned for all nine students and herself to enter the school together. Unfortunately, Elizabeth Eckford, one of the nine, did not have a phone. She never received the message and attempted to enter the school alone through the front entrance. An angry mob met her, threatening to lynch her, as the Arkansas National Guard looked on. Fortunately, two whites stepped forward to aid her and she escaped without injury. The other eight were also denied admittance by the National Guard who were under orders from Governor Faubus.
Soon after this, On September 20, Judge Ronald N. Davies granted NAACP lawyers Thurgood Marshall and Wiley Branton an injunction that prevented Governor Faubus from using the National Guard to deny the nine black students admittance to Central High. Faubus announced that he would comply with the court order but suggested that the nine stay away for their own safety. President Eisenhower sent the 101st Airborne Division to Little Rock to protect the nine students. Each student had their own guard. The students did enter Central High and were protected somewhat, but they were the subject of persecution. Students spat at them, beat them, and yelled insults. White mothers pulled their children out of school, and even blacks told the nine to give up. Why did they stay under such hostile situations? Ernest Green says "We kids did it mainly because we didn't know any better, but our parents were willing to put their careers, and their homes on the line."
The Little Rock Nine
They didn't start out being known as the Little Rock Nine but now they are in America's history books together. Here is a brief glimpse at these former students and what they are doing today, 40 years after this momentus year.
These nine students are unanimous in proclaiming the true heroes of the crisis at Central High School were their parents, who supported them and kept the faith that the process was right and that what they endured would give them opportunities they deserved.
In 1958, he became the first black student to graduate from Central High School. He graduated from Michigan State University and served as Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Affairs under President Jimmy Carter. He currently is a managing partner and vice president of Lehman Brothers in Washington, D.C.
The only one of the nine still living in Little Rock, Elizabeth made a career of the U.S. Army that included work as a journalist. In 1974, she returned to the home in which she grew up and is now a part-time social worker and mother of two sons.
He graduated from Central in 1960, following a year in which Little Rock's public high schools were ordered closed by the legislature to prevent desegregation. Today, he is an accountant with the U.S. Department of Defense and lives in Anaheim, Calif.
Dr. Terrence Roberts
Following the historic year at Central, his family moved to Los Angeles where he completed high school. He earned a doctorate degree and teaches at the University of California at Los Angeles and Antioc College. He also is a clinical psychologist.
Carlotta Walls Lanier
One of only three of the nine who eventually graduated from Central, she and Jefferson Thomas returned for their senior year in 1959. She graduated from Michigan State University and presently lives in Englewood, Colorado, where she is in real estate.
Minnijean Brown Trickey
She was expelled from Central High in February, 1958, after several incidents, including her dumping a bowl of chili on one of her antagonists in the school cafeteria. She moved with her husband to Canada during the Vietnam War protests of the 1960s and today is a writer and social worker in Ontario. Winterstar Productions is presently filming a documentary on her life.
Gloria Ray Karlmark
She graduated from Illinois Technical College and received a post-graduate degree in Stockholm, Sweden. She was a prolific computer science writer and at one time successfully published magazines in 39 countries. Now retired, she divides her time between homes in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Stockholm, where her husband's family lives.
She graduated from college, then made a career of teaching. She lives in Belleville, Illinois, where she is a volunteer in a program for abused women.
Melba Pattillo Beals
She is an author and former journalist for People magazine and NBC and lives in San Francisco.
~ "The Little Rock Nine."
Little Rock Central High 40th Anniversary
. Web. 25 May 2011. <
This resource made us understand how and who the nine students in the Little Rock Crisis are doing. Through this website we can see that the government successfully stop the crisis from ruining the lives of the nine student who are involved in the crisis. Some student went on to serve the government, and some volunteered, while other served as a teacher.
~ Galiano, Amanda. "The Little Rock Nine: Central High - Part 2."
Little Rock Arkansas - Attractions, Information, History, People, Hotels
. Web. 25 May 2011. <
~ "Little Rock Nine Summary |
, Lesson Plans, Book Summaries and More
. Web. 25 May 2011. <
Through these website, we can grab a general view of how and what the Little Rock Crisis was about. This crisis is the most important part of desegregation. Before this event, the idea of segregation was only a idea that the people want to pass on, but after that, this idea of desegregation became more real and closer to become true.
"Little Rock Crisis, 1957 | The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed."
| The Black Past: Remembered and Reclaimed
. Web. 26 May 2011. <
Imagine used from this site to show the seriousness of Little Rock Crisis.
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