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Little Rock High School

Little Rock High School
Little Rock High School makes its way into research papers on the Civil Rights Movement due to its prolific presence in United States history as the high school that challenged integration.

Little Rock High School held the attention of the nation for the following reasons:

  • On September 4, 1957, nine black students were to be the first of the town's efforts of the integration of schools.
  • The night before the army national guard arrived and prepared for what was said would be certain unrest and probable violence on that first day of school.
  • The Mayor of Little Rock, fed up with his town's predicament, telegrams President Eisenhower for help.
  • The President answers his call with 1,000 Army soldiers and 10,000 Arkansas National Guard members federalized to take action.

Early on the morning of September 4nd, a crowd gathering as the sun rose above the school. To the right of the barricades a section of white protestors gathered, waving signs that demanded the governor's decision repealed and their children remain safe from the evils of integrating with black people. To the left of the barricades, a section of black bystanders gathered and watched on in anticipation, there to show their support of the decision. The two crowds bantered insults back and forth and the guardsmen stood their ground firm in what appeared to be a stance to insure peace in Little Rock. However, peace was not their true motive, when the 9 African American students arrived, National Guardsmen turned them on the orders of the Governor.

The morning of September 23rd begins with the same scene as on the 4th, only the Little Rock police department has taken over. This time, the students make it into the school but are escorted out when the crowd outside the school begins to riot and the police fear they will not be able to control the crowd.

On September 25th, 1957, only after the matter becomes a federal issue and the US Army is called in to escort the students into school, do the students finally feel safe. The Army escorts the students into school, among the same restless crowd, but no rioting takes place. Altercations occur, student fights break out, but the black students remain in school for the entire year and Little Rock High stands out in history as the first school to integrate successfully in the South.

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