The little rock nine were nine african americans who were enrolled to an all white school in Little rock,arkansas,1957.The members were,Thelma Mothershed Wair, Minnijean Brown Trickey, Jefferson Thomas, Terrence Roberts, Carlotta Walls LaNier, Gloria Ray Karlmark, Ernest Green, Elizabeth Eckford, and Melba Pattillo Beals.
In the following weeks, federal judge Ronald Davies began legal proceedings against Governor Faubus, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower attempted to persuade Faubus to remove the National Guard and let the Little Rock Nine enter the school.Judge Davies ordered the Guard removed on September 20, and the Little Rock Police Department took over to maintain order. The police escorted the nine African American students into the school on September 23, through an angry mob of some 1,000 white protesters gathered outside. Amidst ensuing rioting, the police removed the nine students.The following day, President Eisenhower sent in 1,200 members of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, and placed them in charge of the 10,000 National Guardsmen on duty. Escorted by the troops, the Little Rock Nine attended their first full day of classes on September 25.
On September 2, 1957, Governor Orval Faubus announced that he would call in the Arkansas National Guard to prevent the African American students’ entry to Central High, claiming this action was for the students’ own protection. In a televised address, Faubus insisted that violence and bloodshed might break out if black students were allowed to enter the school.The Mother’s League held a sunrise service at the school on September 3 as a protest against integration. But that afternoon, federal judge Ronald Davies issued a ruling that desegregation would continue as planned the next day.
The Little Rock Nine arrived for the first day of school at Central High on September 4, 1957. Eight arrived together, driven by Bates.Elizabeth Eckford’s family, however, did not have a telephone, and Bates could not reach her to let her know of the carpool plans. Therefore, Eckford arrived alone.The Arkansas National Guard, under orders of Governor Faubus, prevented any of the Little Rock Nine from entering the doors of Central High. One of the most enduring images from this day is a photograph of Eckford, alone with a notebook in her hand, stoically approaching the school as a crowd of hostile and screaming white students and adults surround her.Eckford later recalled that one of the women spat on her. The image was printed and broadcast widely in the United States and abroad, bringing the Little Rock controversy to national and international attention.
Several of the Little Rock Nine went on to distinguished careers.Green served as assistant secretary of the federal Department of Labor under President Jimmy Carter. Brown worked as deputy assistant secretary for workforce diversity in the Department of the Interior under President Bill Clinton. Patillo worked as a reporter for NBC.The group has been widely recognized for their significant role in the civil rights movement. In 1999, President Clinton awarded each member of the group the Congressional Gold Medal. The nine also all received personal invitations to attend the inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2009.Jefferson Thomas became the first of the Little Rock Nine to die when he succumbed to pancreatic cancer at the age of 67 on September 5, 2010. After graduating from Central High, Thomas served in the Army in Vietnam, earned a business degree and worked as an accountant for private companies and the Pentagon.
On May 25, 1958, Ernest Green, the only senior among the Little Rock Nine, became the first African American graduate of Central High.In September 1958, one year after Central High was integrated, Governor Faubus closed all of Little Rock’s high schools for the entire year, pending a public vote, to prevent African American attendance. Little Rock citizens voted 19,470 to 7,561 against integration and the schools remained closed.Other than Green, the rest of the Little Rock Nine completed their high school careers via correspondence or at other high schools across the country. Eckford joined the Army and later earned her General Education Equivalency diploma. Little Rock’s high schools reopened in August 1959.