September 4th, 1957 was the first day of school in Little Rock Arkansas. Nine black children attempted to start classes at the all white Central High school. Their entry was blocked by hundreds of Arkansas national Guardsmen who had been sent on direct orders issued by Arkansas Governor Orville Faubus to block the entry of the nine black students who will forever live on in history as the Little Rock Nine.
President Eisenhower subsequently dispatched the 101st Airborne Division and placed the Arkansas National Guard under Federal Command.
With bayonets fixed, more than 1,000 federal troops provided protection and escorted the nine black students into the school as hundreds of taunting, rock throwing white men and women venomously protested.
The Nine were reluctantly allowed to attend classes, but not without endless harassment and abuse. And they were not allowed to attend any extra curricular affairs, proms, programs or sports.
The events of September 1957 at Little Rock Central High school was a seminal turning point in America’s civil rights movement—the lessons learned live on at Little Rock’s Central high school today.
Join correspondent, Tom Wilmer as he visits with Phyllis Brown, little sister of Minnijean Brown who was one of the Little Rock Nine.
Ms. Brown recalls the pure terror her family and friends lived with 24 hours a day. Robin White, Superintendent at the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, shares her passionate insights in to the history and lessons learned.
Rex Deloney Little Rock Central High School teacher and head of the art department today, shares his insights in to the legacy of the Little Rock Nine that lives on palpably in the classrooms, in the hallways, throughout the entire community of little Rock Arkansas and across America.
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