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ERIC Number: EJ775205
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1066-2847
The School Year that Changed a Nation
Teaching Tolerance, n32 p20-25 Fall 2007
On September 4, 1957, 16-year-old Minnijean Brown headed off to her new school, Central High in Little Rock, Ark. She and eight other black youths were slated to become the first African Americans to attend all-white Central High. When they arrived that morning, the "Little Rock Nine," as they would become known, were greeted, not by teachers or the principal, but by the National Guard. Governor Orval Faubus had mobilized the troops in order to keep the teenagers out. The next day, the youths were greeted by an angry white mob and again were turned away. On day three, the teens made it to their first class, but were sent home after a violent mob gathered outside the building. President Eisenhower eventually intervened, sending federal soldiers to walk alongside the Little Rock Nine as they went from class to class. Still, for Minnijean and her peers, the 1957-1958 school year would be marked by almost constant harassment. The following year, the governor closed all public schools rather than allow integration to continue. The Supreme Court soon responded to Faubus' actions, ruling that fear of social unrest or violence, whether real or constructed by those wishing to oppose integration, did not excuse state governments from their obligation to integrate schools. Little Rock schools finally opened to all children, as did schools across the nation. This article presents an interview with Minnijean Brown Trickey, a public servant, activist and educator who now holds the Shipley Visiting Writer Fellowship at Arkansas State University. Trickey's commitment to peacemaking, diversity education and social justice advocacy has earned her numerous awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Tribute by the Canadian Race Relations Foundation. In an interview, Trickey talks about that pivotal year at Central High.
Southern Poverty Law Center. 400 Washington Avenue, Montgomery, AL 36104. Tel: 334-956-8200; Fax: 334-956-8484; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Arkansas; Arkansas (Little Rock)