The Little Rock Nine

           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, and Gloria Ray. 

 

By Dale Ricardo Shields

Little Rock, Arkansas

September 4, 1957

When Dorothy Counts was spat on by the mob as she was trying to go to school, that was the day I decided I was coming home (from Baldwin’s self-imposed in Europe). And I came home, you know, to see, you know, to do whatever I could do. And I went south, and I began to deal with the reality, which had always been incipient in me but never been expressed or objectified. I fell in love with those people. And I was very happy to be in the South, even though it was very frightening. Something in me —- something in me recognized it. Something in me had come home.” – James Baldwin (Karen Thorsen’s documentary “The Price of the Ticket)

              

 

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.

 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.

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.

All of the Little Rock Nine members were given the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) in 1958 and the Congressional Gold Medal from President Bill Clinton in 1999.

 

 

 

 

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