1997 September 27

President Clinton Honors “Little Rock Nine” on the 40th Anniversary of the Integration Crisis


President Bill Clinton on this day honored the “Little Rock Nine,” the nine African American students who integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957. At the ceremony in Little Rock, Clinton stood inside Central High School and symbolically opened the door to members of the Little Rock Nine.

The Little Rock integration crisis was one of the most dramatic civil rights confrontations of the 1950s. In the face of mobs of segregationists opposing integration (see September 23, 1957), and the failure of Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus to maintain order, President Dwight D. Eisenhower mobilized federal troops to ensure integration of the school on September 25, 1957. Clinton was an 11-year-old in Hope, Arkansas at the time, and he recalled in his memoirs being gripped by the integration crisis.

Read President Bill Clinton’s remarks at the anniversary:

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

Watch Bill Clinton present the Congressional Gold Medal to the Little Rock Nine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aeiw_6b9DqY

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

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