The Little Rock Nine Enter High School Under Federal Protection

U.S. #3937d – Today Little Rock Central School is a National Historic Site that’s home to a Civil Rights Museum.

The Little Rock Nine Enter High School Under Federal Protection

After being initially denied entrance to their school, the Little Rock Nine were escorted in by federal troops on September 25, 1957.

On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down a unanimous decision stating “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” It declared state laws establishing segregated schools to be unconstitutional and a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. A victory for civil rights advocates, the decision paved the way for integration. But the ruling was not acted on in all parts of the U.S., including Little Rock, Arkansas.

U.S. #1393 – Eisenhower was firmly dedicated to integration, calling on federal troops to ensure the students were safely admitted to school.

For the 1957-58 school year, Little Rock’s Central High School was to be integrated. About 75 black teenagers applied to go to the previously all-white Central High, but the school board accepted only nine. Governor Orval Faubus opposed the integration and ordered the Arkansas National Guard to surround the school and block the black students. He declared that if black students attempted to enter the school, “blood would run in the streets.” The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) stopped the Guard from continuing to block the students.

On September 23, the Little Rock Nine braved a mob outside the school to pass through the school doors. Inside, white students spit at them, tripped them, and yelled insults. With the mob outside growing more violent, the black students were led out a rear door. President Dwight Eisenhower responded by sending troops of the 101st Airborne Division to protect them. The 101st patrolled outside the school and accompanied each black student inside the school on September 25. A task force of Arkansas guardsmen then assumed the duty in November and continued to protect the students for the remainder of the year. Eight of the Little Rock Nine were able to endure and finish that historic school year.

U.S. #4384c – Daisy Bates was head of the NAACP chapter in Little Rock and put herself in harm’s way to protect the students’ rights.

Among those supporting the students through this ordeal was Daisy Bates. She offered up her home as their headquarters, putting herself in constant danger. Rocks were thrown at her windows with notes reading, “Stone this time. Dynamite next.” Ignoring threats to her safety, Bates refused to back down.

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11 responses to "The Little Rock Nine Enter High School Under Federal Protection"

11 thoughts on “The Little Rock Nine Enter High School Under Federal Protection”

      • Substantive and informative, that’s what “stamp collecting” has become with this extra dimension. Agreed 100%. I wait for every article to learn and enjoy the wealth of information behind every stamp in “This Day in History”. “Commendable” does not do enough justice to these articles. Keep up the Good Work, Mystic Stamp Company!!!

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  1. I was attending Clemson College this day in history, starting my Sophomore semester in September 1957. Interesting times with much more to come. I was attending the University of Georgia when it was integrated. Graduated in 1962.

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  2. I wish racist people and groups would stop this hate. We need to work together and save our country so our children can have a wonderful,hate free nation to live and love together.

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  3. As usual this article was informative. I was lucky enough to be able to get tickets to the 50th Anniversity Celebration in 2007, and enjoyed it very much. My only confusion with the article is How did the NAACP stop the Guard from blocking the students?

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  4. Kudos to the eight children who were able to finish the school year, to President Eisenhower and to Daisy Bates. Even with the roadblocks and unresonable thinking this is still a great country. We must always remember that and we will surely endure.

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  5. Sequoia National Park–125 years ago,on September 25, 1890, Congress created America’s second national park, protecting the largest groves of giant sequoia trees from logging interests. Sequoias are the largest and among the oldest living things on the planet, and they grow only on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada in California.. A few days later, more sequoia groves were protected to the north when Yosemite National Park was established.

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