The Little Rock Nine
The United States is a country that is full of historic feats and achievements. It’s a history of the continuous search for our founding principles, the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. Unfortunately, these principles are constantly forgotten, which causes some to risk their lives so that others will not suffer as they did. Ultimately this is what the Civil Rights movement was about, the improvement of life for all mankind. As prominent figures such as Martin Luther King Jr. appeared and preached of a life of equality, the nation was shocked by the acts of nine African American high school students, The Little Rock Nine.
It began on May 24, 1955, when the Little Rock School Board adopted a plan for gradual racial integration, known as the Blossom Plan. Under the plan, students would be permitted to transfer from any school where their race was in the minority, thus ensuring that the black schools would remain racially segregated, because many people believed that few, if any, white students would opt to attend predominantly black schools. On September 4, 1957, nine African American students attempted to enter Central but were turned away by Arkansas National Guard troops called out by governor Orval Faubus in defiance of the federal court order. The town turned into a mob as they beat any black person just to protest the integration. Calling the mob’s actions “disgraceful,” Eisenhower called out 1,200 members of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division, and placed the Arkansas National Guard under federal orders. On September 25, 1957, under federal troop escort, the Nine were escorted back into Central for their first full day of classes, and remained there for the duration of the year.
High school is a place where young teens learn to become mature and responsible. It is a place where students get trained to take on bigger challenges in life. Obstacles such as college. From my own personal experiences, high school didn’t seem that way. Students were more concerned about getting a passing grade then about what they were taught. They would even cheat their way out of high ...
The actions of the nine African American students were heroic to say the least. In their pursuit for an equal education they were met with ruthless hostility. Elizabeth Eckford later said, “I tried to see a friendly face somewhere in the mob—someone who maybe would 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.” They fought for a right that we often take for granted today. As it may seem like a happy ever after ending, the events at Central High were far from it. As the nine black students were allowed to attend school, they still faced harassment, and were not allowed to have class together or participate in any extracurricular activities. However that was fine to them. It was the fact that they were finally allowed equal education; it was one step further. They knew that as years passed, black students would soon take another step to be able to participate in sports, attend class together, and put a stop to harassment. Ultimately, this is what the Civil Rights movement was about, taking steps closer to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.