Thursday, July 28, 2016

Little Rock schools desegregated 59 years old. Now ‘we are retreating to 1957.’ - The Washington Post

Little Rock schools desegregated 59 years old. Now ‘we are retreating to 1957.’ - The Washington Post:

Little Rock schools desegregated 59 years old. Now ‘we are retreating to 1957.’

The face of the boy in the background reflects his feelings as he looks at two of the six black students who attempted to enter North Little Rock High School on Sept. 9, 1957. The boy and other white students are not identified. The black youths are, Richard Richardson, 17, and Harold Smith, 17, right. (William P. Straeter/AP)

Anyone familiar with efforts to desegregate public schools in this country knows about Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., where, in 1957,  nine black students enrolled at the then all-white school to test the landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka that declared public school segregation unconstitutional. The students were barred from entering the school on Sept. 4, 1957, by National Guard called in by then-Gov. Orval Faubus, but on Sept. 25, federal troops ordered by then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower, escorted them into the school and they started their first full day.
But there is a new story of Central High — and school segregation — that needs to be told, and in this post, Jeff Bryant does just that. Bryant, director of the Education Opportunity Network, a partnership effort of the Institute for America’s Future and the Opportunity to Learn Campaign. He has written extensively about public education policy. This first appeared on Alternet.org, and I have permission to republish it.
By Jeff Bryant
Stories about historic efforts to address racial segregation in American public education often start with Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., in 1957. But the story of Little Rock and segregation badly needs updating.
Central High became one of the first practical tests of principles established in Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court ruling that overturned racially separate public schools. When nine black students showed up for opening day of the historically all-white school, Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus called in the National Guard to prevent them from entering. President Dwight D. Eisenhower responded by calling in federal troops to escort the students into the school, and Faubus eventually backed down.
But the story of racial integration in Little Rock shouldn’t be confined to Central High. The same year Central was integrated, another school, Hall High, opened in the all-white part of town with an all white student body. Hall would not integrate until 1959 (Faubus closed all Little Rock high schools in school year 1958-59 to protest federal intervention), when threeLittle Rock schools desegregated 59 years old. Now ‘we are retreating to 1957.’ - The Washington Post: 


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