Before we leave Little Rock we have to touch on the Civil Rights battle that raged here in 1957. It was then that the Federal Courts ordered that the High School start accepting Black students. Nine students enrolled but were blocked from entering the school by the Arkansas National Guard, ordered up by Governor Orval Faubus. Several days later President Eisenhower, at the request of the Little Rock Mayor, sent in Federal Troops to enforce integration and protect the nine students who had become known as the Little Rock Nine. On September 24, the President took control of the Arkansas National Guard away from the State and sent the 101st Division to Little Rock and the the next day, Wednesday, September 25, 1957, and under Federal escort, the students entered the school.
Here in her own words, one of the Black students describes her ordeal:
“They moved closer and closer ... Somebody started yelling ... I tried to see a friendly face somewhere in the crowd—someone who maybe could help. I looked into the face of an old woman and it seemed a kind face, but when I looked at her again, she spat on me.”
Here are photos taken during those trying days. Just look at the hatred in the faces of the white demonstrators! How can people hate so much simply on the basis of colour? Yesterday, by the way, was the anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. How far have we really come?