Black History Spotlight for Sept. 24: The Little Rock Nine

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas case in May of 1954, all segregated schools were declared unconstitutional. Desegregation was to occur in all the schools throughout the nation.

In 1957, a group of nine African-American students enrolled in Little Rock High School were initially prevented from entering the racially segregated school by Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus. When President Eisenhower intervened however, the students were allowed to attend. On Sept. 24, 1957, federal troops enforced court-ordered integration which allowed the nine children to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Ark.

This event marked an important and historic stride in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. The NAACP had succeeded at registering nine black students at the previously all-white Little Rock Central High. The nicknamed “Little Rock Nine” consisted of Ernest Green (b. 1941), Elizabeth Eckford (b. 1941), Jefferson Thomas (1942–2010), Terrence Roberts (b. 1941), Carlotta Walls LaNier (b. 1942), Minnijean Brown (b. 1941), Gloria Ray Karlmark (b. 1942), Thelma Mothershed (b. 1940), and Melba Pattillo Beals (b. 1941). Ernest Green was the first African American to graduate from Central High School.

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