Following the U.S. Supreme Court's 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision supporting school integration, the Little Rock, Arkansas School Board agreed to integrate by the 1957/1958 school year. However, on September 4, 1957, when nine black high-school students showed up at Little Rock's all-white Central High School they were greeted by the Arkansas National Guard, deployed by Governor Orval Faubus to support continued segregation. You can learn the rest of the story at the following sites.
"In 1957, nine brave, black students pioneered a path for thousands of future scholars in the halls of this great school. September 25, 2007, will mark the 50th anniversary of the integration of Central High." This commemorative website includes a time line of the integration crisis, an overview of the events, and bios of each of the Little Rock Nine. In Little Rock Nine By the Numbers, we learn that five earned diplomas from Central High, and eight went on to earn college degrees.
The Encyclopedia of Arkansas has an excellent, illustrated article on the Little Rock Nine, with links to additional articles on the desegregation of Central High, Arkansas governor Orval Faubus, and the Lost Year. "The Lost Year refers to the 1958ï¿½59 school year in Little Rock (Pulaski County), when all the city's high schools were closed in an effort to block desegregation." Be sure to check out the photographs and documents in the right-hand side bar. Click on any of them for an enlarged, annotated view.
Although it was written ten years ago to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of " One of America's Most Important Civil Rights Events," the site is still valuable today. Best clicks are the historic video (although tiny by today's standards), articles from the student newspaper The Tiger, and the update on where the Little Rock Nine are today.
PBSKids presents a single-page overview of school desegregation and the civil rights movement of the fifties. In Buzz, you can read an interview with Melba Patillo Beals (one of the Little Rock Nine) where she answers questions such as "What were you thinking and feeling on your first day at Central High?" Other great clicks are the "Test Your Civil Rights Brainpower" quiz, the "What's Going On Here" photo caption exercise.
Lisa Cozzens was a Brown University undergraduate when she started this Black History website in 1998. Although it lacks a fancy layout or graphics, it is one of the Web's most popular Little Rock Nine sites because of its excellent bibliography and footnotes. If you are writing a school report, her site is a must see. "He [Governor Faubus] also proclaimed that if the black students attempted to enter Central, 'blood would run in the streets.'"