The Little Rock Nine was a courageous group of African American students who enrolled in a previously all-white school, Little Rock Central High School, after the court case Brown v. Board of Education banned segregation in public schools. However, the desegregation of Little Rock was met with much opposition. In fact, Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus ordered the Arkansas National Guard to blockade the school so that the Little Rock Nine could not enter.
Eventually, Pres. Dwight Eisenhower intervened, but the nine students were treated harshly and feared for their lives. Elizabeth Eckford, a member of the Little Rock Nine, describes the day she was prevented from entering Little Rock Central High School:
I tried to see a friendly face somewhere in the mob—someone who maybe would help. I looked into the face of an old woman and it seemed a kind face, but when I looked at her again, she spat on me.
The above picture and quote are so powerful. Even more heartbreaking is that the Little Rock Nine experienced this hatred every day they went to school.
They truly are heroes.
Can you believe that people were so angry to have students enter their school because of the color of their skin? It seems so arbitrary now, so how did it elicit such a violent outcry merely 56 years ago?