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Little Rock Standoff

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 11 months ago

The Little Rock Standoff

                   

 In the city of Little Rock, Arkansas the city’s Board of Education had decided that it would act in accordance with the Brown ruling just after its establishment. The Board made plans to desegregate the high schools by the fall of 1957 and have all schools desegregated by the fall of 1963. Seventeen black students were picked to be the first to enter the desegregated school. By the fall of 1957 eight had dropped out leaving nine. Governor Orval Faubus went on television the night before school was suppose to start and announced that he head deployed the Arkansas National Guard to prohibit the black students from entering the school. “Faubus said that public disturbances were imminent, and he believed that order could not be maintained if desegregation was implemented” (67 Raffel). As the black students approached the school they were turned back by a aggressive mob of whites that had congregated. The National Guard was also there to detour the students.

 

A Federal Judge named Ronald Davis had the Department of Justice obtain information of who was resisting the court order. Faubus informed the President Dwight Eisenhower that he was going to resist the order and expect the President to understand. The President responded that “he would honor his oath to support and uphold the Constitution” (67 Raffel).The President and Governor Faubus meet to discuss the matter at hand. Eisenhower thought that he should keep the National Guard there but change their orders. Faubus did not change the orders but when the judge ordered that the National Guard and Faubus were obstructing desegregation. The Governor withdrew his troops until a safe return of the black students could be made.

 

The Black students tried again on September 23 to enter the school, but were meet by an angry crowd. The crowd had armed itself and could not be controlled by local law enforcement. “ Ten thousand members of the Arkansas National Guard were nationalized, and 1000 combat ready paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division, veterans of the Korean War, arrived on the scene” (68 Raffel). The black student began their education at Central High School. In spite of rather seeing the High School become desegregated Governor Faubus had all three closed. The schools were eventually reopened on a desegregation basis. This event showed that a state has to do to protect the rights of its people even in the event of violence. This also showed “the supremacy of the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court in upholding the U.S. Constitution over the actions of governors and state legislators” (69 Raffel).

 

View a documentary about the Little Rock nine here.

 

Back to Civil Rights Act of 1964 | Brown v Board of Education | Rosa Parks

 

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