1957 September 4

African-American Students Blocked From Entering Central High School, Little Rock, Arkansas

 

On this day, Arkansas National Guard troops prevented nine African-American students from entering Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. The school integration crisis in Little Rock was one of the major civil rights events of the 1950s. After a legal stand-off of almost three weeks, on September 23, 1957, the nine students — who became famous at “The Little Rock Nine” — were again denied entry by a mob of segregationists outside the school. Two days later, on September 25, 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower mobilized federal troops to escort the students into the school and preserve order.

The battle over the integration of the Little Rock schools continued. In the summer of 1958 the school officials again tried to block integration. They were overruled by the Supreme Court in the landmark case of Cooper v. Aaron (September 12, 1958), which asserted the supremacy of the federal courts as the law of the land. Nonetheless, the Little Rock school board voted to close the schools altogether rather than integrate (see May 25, 1959). The 1958–1959 academic year is known as the “lost year.” Moderate members of the community captured control of the schools, however, and the schools reopened in the fall of 1959.

On September 27, 1997, President Bill Clinton, who was a young boy in Arkansas at the time of the integration crisis, held a ceremony in Little Rock marking the 40th anniversary of the crisis and honoring the Little Rock Nine.

Learn more at a timeline of the Little Rock crisis: http://www.nps.gov/chsc/historyculture/timeline.htm

Watch a documentary on the Little Rock crisis: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xERXusiEszs

Read the book by Daisy Bates, Little Rock’s integration leader: Daisy Bates, The Long Shadow of Little Rock: A Memoir (1962)

Learn more: Karen Anderson, Race and Resistance at Central High School (2010)

Find a Day

Go
Abortion Rights ACLU african-americans Alice Paul anti-communism Anti-Communist Hysteria Birth Control Brown v. Board of Education Censorship CIA Civil Rights Civil Rights Act of 1964 Cold War Espionage Act FBI First Amendment Fourteenth Amendment freedom of speech Free Speech Gay Rights Hate Speech homosexuality Hoover, J. Edgar HUAC Japanese American Internment King, Dr. Martin Luther Ku Klux Klan Labor Unions Lesbian and Gay Rights Loyalty Oaths McCarthy, Sen. Joe New York Times Obscenity Police Misconduct Same-Sex Marriage Separation of Church and State Sex Discrimination Smith Act Spying Spying on Americans Vietnam War Voting Rights Voting Rights Act of 1965 War on Terror Watergate White House Women's Rights Women's Suffrage World War I World War II Relocation Camps

Topics

Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear your comments, criticisms and suggestions!