The Little Rock Nine …

18 days of struggle

The Little Rock Nine were a group of nine black students who enrolled at formerly all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in September 1957.

This Day in Black History: Sept. 24, 1957

President Dwight D. Eisenhower orders federal troops to escort nine Black students, nicknamed the “Little Rock Nine,” into the all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, on Sept. 24, 1957.

On Sept. 24, 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered units of U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division to escort nine Black students, nicknamed the “Little Rock Nine,” into the previously all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas

In the weeks before, the students were refused entry by the Arkansas National Guard and mobs of segregationists gathered to block the doors, abusing the Black teens with obscenities and death threats.

The “Little Rock Nine” attended their first full day of class on Sept. 25, 1957, and to ensure their safety, the federal officers were ordered to escort them to classes throughout the school year. Two of the students, Jefferson Thomas and Thelma Mothershed, earned their diploma from Central High School in 1960. A third member, Carlotta Walls, earned hers through correspondence classes. The remaining six students completed their high school educations at other schools.

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(Photo: Lloyd Dinkins/Commercial Appeal /Landov)

Written by Britt Middleton