In September 1957, as a test of Brown v. Board of Education, nine Black students enrolled at formerly all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Governor Orval Faubus called in the Arkansas National Guard to block the Black students’ entry into the high school.
Later that month, President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent in federal troops to escort the Little Rock Nine into the school.
I have a vivid memory of watching the news broadcast of those teens trying to accomplish their dreams. I had dreamed of going to Staples High for many years, and the thought of not going to high school was depressing. If I were denied attending Staples, I would have been devastated.
I loved Ike for sending in the 101st Airborne, although at the time I had no idea that it wasn’t legal. They weren’t issued live rounds, but the local punks didn’t know that They realized that they would be squashed like bugs if they interfered.
I watched the PBS program that showed how these brave kids endured those days and matured into successful adults. I was amazed by how little bitterness there was.