The Little Rock Nine 1956-57



The Little Rock Nine 1956-57
The Little Rock Nine
By 1956
In 1954, the US Supreme Court made it illegal for schools to refuse to
enrol students based on their race. However, State authorities simply
refused to enrol black students and segregation remained.
… this was because many of them had been threatened and were too frightened to enrol. White
people publicly said they would commit acts of violence to prevent the entry of the students.
Tsar Nicholas + Family
To force the issue,
the leader of
NAACP, Arkansas
branch, Daisy
Bates tried to
enrol 32
students into the
all white Little
Rock Central High
school in 1956.
The school
refused their
In 1956
The NAACP filed a lawsuit against the school. The court ruled that
the students must be allowed in. By 1957, out of the 32 students
originally part of the campaign only 9 wished to carry on ...
September 23rd, 1957
September 2nd, 1957
Arkansas Governor, Orville Faubus called
out the National Guard to surround the
school and to “keep the peace“ .
The following
day, escorted
by 20 United
sent by the
president, the
nine students
once again
entered Little
Rock Central
High School.
When one of the Little Rock 9, Elizabeth Eckford, approached the school she was surrounded
by a white mob . She heard someone shout “ here she comes, someone get her”. The crowd
insulted her and she was even spat at by an elderly woman who she turned to for help.
Eventually one woman came out from the crowd and shouted “ leave this child alone, why
are you tormenting her? In 6 months from now you will hang your head in shame”.
President Dwight Eisenhower
When president
heard the news
that State
authorities were
refusing to
follow federal
law. He vowed
to use his power
to ensure that
the law was
The Little Rock 9 were refused entry by the National Guard. After
an appeal to the judge it was ordered the students return - this
time under the protection of the police. Although the students
made it inside the school, black reporters outside were attacked.
At 11: 30 am the white mob broke through police lines and
entered the school. The Little Rock 9 were forced to flee ...
September 25th
May, 1958
White protesters continued to come from hundreds of miles
away to surround the school and a group called ‘The Mother’s
League’ tried to mount a legal challenge to desegregation.
Rather than integrate Governor Faubus even tried completely
closing all schools—although this was ruled as unconstitutional.
The Little Rock 9 were bullied, abused, spat at and assaulted almost daily by other
students at the school. One of the 9, Minnie-Jean Brown, was later expelled after
pouring a bowl of chilli over the head of a boy who repeatedly called her a “nigger”.
Despite the negative reaction, 8 students
remained at the school. Although full integration was slow the Little Rock 9 paved the way
for desegregated schools throughout the South.
In May 1958, Ernest Green became the first
black student to graduate from Little Rock.
The Experience of Elizabeth Eckford.
One of the Little Rock 9 - 1957.
I think ...
Starter : Do you remember your first day of school? Were you nervous, excited, happy or afraid? Any stories to share?
Follow up : Now, consider Elizabeth Eckford’s first day at school. Upon her arrival she was surrounded by hundreds of
white adults who insulted, threatened (to lynch), pushed and an old woman even spat at her. Her entry into the school was
blocked by the National Guard soldiers. Overwhelmed but defiant, she sat alone on a bench outside the school.
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