Today marks the 50th anniversary that Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas integrated nine African-American students and marks one of the major events of the Civil Rights Movement.
After being driven away by angry mobs on the official first day of school on September 4th, the students were finally able to enter the halls of Central Rock High School on Monday September 23rd. They were met with protests and death threats; other students spat on them and did everything they could to make them feel unwanted and alienated. Each day presented new challenges to the students and one of the nine had to leave. However the other 8, through strength and determination, finished the school year and marked one of the most significant milestones in America’s Civil Rights history.
Last December, I had a chance to visit Central High School during a road trip with my sister-in-law. And although I remember learning about this event when I was in high school, nothing compares to actually being there and seeing this amazingly impressive building and how big and intimidating it is and must have been to these students walking up to it with the mob of protesters lining the streets and trying to prevent them from entering the high school.
If you’re interested in learning more, I highly recommend reading “Warriors Don’t Cry” which was written by Melba Pattillo Beals, one of the Little Rock Nine, or click on some of the links here.