|Eisenhower and the Little Rock Crisis|
President Eisenhower, who was vacationing in Newport, Rhode Island, arranged to meet Governor Faubus there to discuss the tense situation in Little Rock. In their brief meeting, Eisenhower thought Faubus had agreed to enroll African American students, so he told Faubus that his National Guard troops could stay at Central High and enforce order. Once back in Little Rock,
Governor Faubus withdrew the National Guard. A few days later, 9 African American students slipped into the school to enroll and a full scale riot erupted. The situation quickly ran out of control, as Governor Faubus did nothing to stop the violence. Finally, the mayor of Little Rock appealed directly to President Eisenhower for help.
Eisenhower knew he had to act boldly. He placed the Arkansas National Guard under federal control and sent 1,000 U.S. Army paratroopers from the 101st Airborne Division to assist them in restoring order in Little Rock.
The daring tactic worked and the African American students were enrolled without further violent disturbances.
The law had been upheld, but Eisenhower was criticized both by those who felt he had not done enough to ensure civil rights for African Americans and those who believed he had gone too far in asserting federal power over the states.