Friday, October 14, 2011

Little Rock Desegregation

In the effort to desegregate the American people on the basis of skin color, the U.S. Supreme Court finally declared that segregated schools are unconstitutional, and that all schools must be segregated from then on. The decision was agreed upon by the school boards and councils across the United States, but the white residents and students were not welcome to the new rule.
On September 4, 1957, nine black students were about to enter Little Rock Central School in Little Rock Arkansas when their entrance was blocked by the white segregationists supported by the Arkansas National Guard. The deployment of the guards was ordered by Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus as a support to his white constituents. The blockade however caused a national issue, which led the President Dwight Eisenhower to intervene and summoned the governor to meet him. Faubus was then reminded not to interfere with the court’s decision.
The first nine black students in Little Rock Central School spent their first few weeks guarded by the police since they were still being blocked by the segregationists to enter the school. They also suffered physical and emotional abuse from their schoolmates. The Little Rock School Board meanwhile was pressured by its citizens to reverse the desegregation, which resulted to its closing in the following school year. It did reopen later on, in fall of 1959.
The thing is… she is not the subject of the photograph. Will Counts, the photographer shot Hazel Massery, the white girl shouting in front of the man. 40 years later she apologized to Elisabeth.

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