Little Rock Central High School

No, not might is right. Might For Right!

-Alan Jay Lerner, Camelot

The U.S. Supreme Court issued its historic Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, 347 U.S. 483, on May 17, 1954. Tied to the 14th Amendment, the decision declared all laws establishing segregated schools to be unconstitutional, and it called for the desegregation of all schools throughout the nation.

On September 04, 1957, nine back students who were legally enrolled, attempted to attend Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, AR. They were prevented from entering the building by the Arkansas National Guard who were called up by the Governor of Arkansas Orval Faubus to “preserve the peace”. In response, the mayor of Little Rock asked President Eisenhower to send federal troops to enforce integration and protect the nine students, which resulted in the below iconic still image.

When I visited on October 20, 2020, it was a little surreal, as it is still a functioning high school and not a historical exhibit frozen in time like the Churchill War Rooms or a featureless location like the Führerbunker. I wonder, do enrollees appreciate that they are walking in the footsteps of history everyday or are they just going to school like everyone else?

101st Airborne escorts the Little Rock Nine, September 24, 1957
Central High School Welcoming Committee, September 24, 1957
October 20, 2020

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