The Desegregation of Little Rock, Arkansas Central High School

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The Desegregation of Little Rock, Arkansas Central High School In the summer of 1957, the city of Little Rock, Arkansas, made plans to desegregate its public schools. In 1954 the Supreme Court made a decision to strike down racial segregation in public schools, Arkansas was one of two Southern states to announce it would begin immediately taking steps to comply with the new "law of the land." By 1957, seven of its eight state universities had desegregated. Blacks had been appointed to state boards and elected to local offices. The city of Little Rock thought they could break down the barriers of segregation in its schools with a carefully developed program. It had already desegregated its public buses, as well as its zoo, library and parks system. Its school board had voted unanimously for a plan, starting with desegregation in the high school in 1957, followed by junior high schools the next year and elementary schools following. But the transition wasn’t as easy as they thought it would be. On September 2, the night before school was to start, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus called out the state's National Guard to surround Little Rock Central High School and prevent any black students from entering so he could protect citizens and property from possible violence by protesters he said was coming to Little Rock. Federal Judge Davis granted an injunction against the Governor's use of National Guard troops to prevent integration and they were withdrawn on September 20, school resumed the following Monday. The judge also instructed U.S. Attorney General Herbert Brownell Jr. to file a petition for an injunction against Faubus and two officers of the Arkansas National Guard to prevent them from obstructing the court order to desegregate. Monday Central High was surrounded by Little Rock policemen. About 1,000 people gathered in front of the school, they protested
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