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Black History Month highlight: the Little Rock Nine

Posted on Wednesday, February 22, 2017 at 11:57 am

Little Rock Central High, where the “The Little Rock Nine” ventured through the doors of the all-white school in the fight for integration. The school still operates today and has students of all races walk through its doors.

To continue the celebration of Black History Month, I started to look at the many things that we take for granted in 2017––one of those things is the diversity in our public schools.

It’s hard to believe that just 63 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregation of America’s public schools was unconstitutional.

Last summer, on a cross-country trip, I got the opportunity to visit the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site and Visitor Center.

Little Rock Central High School was the place in which history took place in the fight for integration. Nine African American students enrolled at the formerly all-white, Central High School. These nine students would become known as the “Little Rock Nine.”

The Little Rock Nine consisted of Minnijean Brown, Elizabeth Eckford, Ernest Green, Thelma Mothershed, Melba Patillo, Gloria Ray, Terrence Roberts, Jefferson Thomas and Carlotta Walls.

These individuals were recruited by Daisy Gaston Bates, president of the Arkansas National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and co-publisher, with her husband L.C. Bates, of the Arkansas State Press, an influential African-American newspaper.

These nine individuals were carefully selected due to the strength and determination they possessed in regards to the turmoil they would face as they integrated a segregated school in the south. These students faced resistance, when all they wanted was something that we have daily and rarely reflect on the fact that it was not always like it is now.

To read the rest of the article, pick up the Feb. 23 print edition of The Caroline Progress or sign up for an online subscription.