After legal challenges, stymied attempts, and literally countless threats, it was on Wednesday, September 25, 1957, that the group of African American students known as the Little Rock Nine actually entered Little Rock Central High School for a full day. They would return each day through the end of the school year.
Unlike September 23, when they went in a side door before being hustled a few hours later for their own protection, on September 25 they walked in the front door. They did so escorted by members of the 101st Airborne who had been ordered to Little Rock by President Eisenhower.
Much has been written about the events of September 25, 1957. Several of the participants that day have penned memoirs.
Whatever I would write today would pale in comparison to the accounts of those who lived it.
So I just end this with words of gratitude to:
- Melba Pattillo Beals
- Elizabeth Eckford
- Ernest Green
- Gloria Ray Karlmark
- Carlotta Walls LaNier
- Terrence Roberts
- Jefferson Thomas
- Minnijean Brown Trickey
- Thelma Mothershed Wair
Thank you to these nine pioneers, who were simply teenagers trying to have equal education opportunities. Thank you to their parents, their families, their pastors, their legal team, their support system. Thank you to Daisy and L. C. Bates, Wiley Branton Sr. Chris Mercer, and Thurgood Marshall for the roles they played.
While Jefferson Thomas passed away in 2010, the other eight continue to tell their stories and speak truth to audiences ranging from one to thousands and ages from pre-school to seniors.