National Guard Ordered to Keep Out Little Rock 9, 1957

National Guard standing guard to keep out any members of the Little Rock Nine.

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.

Segregationists heckle Elizabeth Eckford after she is forbidden to enter Little Rock Central High School.

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.

little rock

 

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?

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2 thoughts on “National Guard Ordered to Keep Out Little Rock 9, 1957

  1. Those nine are truly heroes!

    Every generation has its things. 50 years from now, people will look back at us and find many things that they’ll deem horrible or wrong as well. I just feel we shouldn’t praise our generation so much like it’s perfect, because we have our problems too.

    • I agree. I wasn’t suggesting that today’s generation is perfect; there will always be bigots and hatred. But this period in history was especially brutal and violent. Members of the Little Rock Nine had acid thrown in their face and flaming paper thrown at them in addition to numerous threats on their life. And their struggle would have been in vain if we don’t learn something from it.

      You’re right. We shouldn’t glorify our generation, but instead learn from history and from the plight of these brave individuals so that we don’t repeat the past, and, more importantly, we continue forward towards tolerance and equality.

      Thanks for the feedback!

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