Little Rock Nine

Central High School, Little Rock (David Wolfford, July 2022)

Making the Brown Decision Real.

In 1957, U.S. troops escorted nine African Americans into the otherwise all-white Central High School in Little Rock. The plan to integrate ¬†the school had been thwarted by vocal and sometimes violent opposition and by Governor Orval Faubus. The Supreme Court’s decision Brown v. Board of Education¬†(1954) outlawing legalized segregation had largely been ignored by southern states. President Dwight D. Eisenhower eventually ordered federal troops to Little Rock to restore order and escort the nine students into the school. The episode highlights one of the weaknesses of the court; its ability to enforce its decisions.

Below is footage from the day from the landmark documentary Eyes on the Prize. View the video and answer the questions below.

Questions for Reflection:

1. What were the political and legal motivations of Governor Faubus?

2. How was this event reported by the late 1950’s media?

3. Who were the members of the Little Rock Nine, and what did they go on to do?


Photo/Image: Mob to Central High, by John Bledsoe, US News & World Report, LOC