The Little Rock Nine

Brown v. Board of Education


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.

What is the significance of the Brown v Board of Education of Topeka decision?

“On May 17, 1954, the Court declared that racial segregation in public schools violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, effectively overturning the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision mandating “separate but equal.” The Brown ruling directly affected legally segregated schools in twenty-one states.”

How did the Brown vs Board of Education impact society?

“The legal victory in Brown did not transform the country overnight, and much work remains. But striking down segregation in the nation’s public schools provided a major catalyst for the civil rights movement, making possible advances in desegregating housing, public accommodations, and institutions of higher education.”


How did the Brown v Board of Education decision influence the civil rights movement Quizlet?

“Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka was the spark that got the Civil Rights movement going in the 1950s and ’60s. The Supreme Court ruled that desegregation in the public schools was not constitutional and that gave new impetus to the civil rights movement.”


When nine African American students enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas in 1957, the event became known as the ‘Little Rock Crisis’. The students were initially prevented from entering the racially segregated school by Orval Faubus, the state governor. Small printed flyer. Black text on white paper. It reads [IF YOU WANT TO KEEP / OUR SCHOOLS SEGREGATED / VOTE / FOR REMOVAL / OF LAMB / MATSON / TUCKER / AGAINST REMOVAL / OF LASTER / McKINLEY / ROWLAND / THE MOTHER’ LEAGUE / P.O. Box 3321 / Little Rock, Arkansas]. Artist Unknown. (Photo by Heritage Art/Heritage Images via Getty Images)

UNITED STATES – CIRCA 1959: African American boy watching a group of people, some carrying American flags, march past to protest the admission of the “Little Rock Nine” to Central High School. (Photo by Buyenlarge/Getty Images)

“They were harassed by their fellow students and even threatened. One of the students, Melba Pattillo, wrote in her book, Warriors Don’t Cry, about how the attacks even involved acid and sticks of dynamite.”


Elizabeth Eckford

Students of Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., including Hazel Bryan, shout insults at Elizabeth Eckford as she calmly walks toward a line of National Guardsmen in this Sept. 4, 1957, file photo. (Will Counts/File/Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP)



“In the years that followed, Massery would have a change of opinion. She became a supporter of the civil rights struggle and realized how far she had gone wrong. She apologized to Eckford in 1962 or 1963. She didn’t stop there, though. She left her prejudiced church, participated in initiatives that helped disadvantaged Bl-ack students and single Bl-ack mothers, read Cornel West and Shelby Steele’s writings, and debated with her parents about racial inequality.”

“Much of the moment was captured in a single photograph, but not all of it. We witness Eckford being pursued by a mob of enraged White supremacists, but we don’t see them shouting, “Lynch her! Lynch her!” We can see the Arkansas National Guard, but we can’t see President Eisenhower ordered federal forces to enter the building weeks later. Although we see Elizabeth Eckford walking with confidence and a high head, we don’t see the guts and determination it took her not to walk through a crowd of people who were threatening to kill her for going to school.” – Kerry White

Image credit: Vintage Everyday

“Eckford attempted to return home after being denied entry to the school, but she was unable to do so owing to the 250 or so irate white people who had gathered behind her at the bus stop where she had been left off. She made the decision to try to get to the next bus stop, which was a block away. What about the student in the photo who is yelling at Eckford? Hazel Bryan was her given name before she changed it to Hazel Massery.” – Kerry White


“Her parents were openly racist, and she was the daughter of such parents.”

Dorothy Counts


Dorothy Counts at 79