What Happened to the 'Little Rock 9'?

What Happened to the 'Little Rock 9'?


On September 4, 1957, the first day of school, Governor Orval Faubus sent the Arkansas National Guard to be stationed at Central High — insisting that it was for the safety of the new students. When eight of the nine black students arrived at school that morning, they encountered a mass of white protesters. The National Guard, lined up at the entrance, ordered the students' NAACP chaperones to turn around and take them home. It was clear that Faubus wasn't trying to protect the students, but rather placate the angry horde, according to Smithsonian Magazine.

When Elizabeth Eckford arrived at school separately that day, she was met by the National Guard with bayonets and mobbed by white students and parents. Eckford recalled, "They moved closer and closer. Somebody started yelling. I tried to see a friendly face in the crowd, somebody who could maybe 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," as reported by America's National Parks Podcast.

None of the Little Rock Nine entered school that day. In the following days, Governor Faubus doubled down on his segregationist beliefs, only for lawyer Thurgood Marshall and federal judge Ronald Davies to order that the National Guard be removed from the school. This school showdown, between violent segregationists and schoolchildren, would take center stage that fall.

What Happened to the



MORE ABOUT What Happened to the 'Little Rock 9'?