The Little Rock Nine
They Only Wanted To Go To School…
Thelma Mothershed, Elizabeth Eckford, Melba Pattillo,
Jefferson Thomas, Ernest Green, Minnijean Brown,
Carlotta Walls, Terrence Roberts, Gloria Ray.
By Dale Ricardo Shields
Little Rock, Arkansas
September 4, 1957
In the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision, issued May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregation of America’s public schools was unconstitutional.
The Little Rock Nine were a group of nine African American students that volunteered to desegregate the Little Rock county school system by attending the all-White Little Rock Central High School.
Their attendance at the school was a test of Brown v. Board of Education, a landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling that declared segregation in public schools unconstitutional. On September 4, 1957, the first day of classes at Central High, Governor Orval Faubus called in the Arkansas National Guard to block the Black students’ entry into the high school. Later that month, President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent in federal troops to escort the Little Rock Nine into the school.
“National Guard denied Black students from September 4th. Access to the school Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division advance into Little Rock to ensure the schooling of the Black students.”