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Little Rock Crisis

Introduction

Three years after the United States Supreme Court ruled unanimously in Brown v. Board of Education that separate educational facilities are inherently unequal, nine African American students desegregated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. The students, Minnijean Brown, Terrance Roberts, Elizabeth Eckford, Ernest Green, Thelma Mothershed, Melba Patillo, Gloria Ray, Jefferson Thomas, and Carlotta Walls, inspired a generation with their courage and dignity. 

Documents

Document: Smiley, Glenn E. Report on Little Rock, 9/23/1957 - 9/29/1957

Document: King, Martin Luther Jr. (Southern Christian Leadership Conference). Telegram to Dwight D. (Dwight David) Eisenhower

Document: King, Martin Luther, Jr. Interview at Bennett College, [2/11/1958]

Document: "Dr. King Asks Nonviolence in Little Rock School Crisis," Atlanta Daily World, 26 September 1957.

  • Classroom Activity: Lead a discussion about this content and purpose of this document. What does King mean when he says, ‘You must meet physical force with soul force’?  Can you think of an example in your own life when you needed ‘soul force’? How does the conviction that ‘history is on your side’ help to motivate people to remain non-violent?
  • Encyclopedia: Daisy BatesLittle Rock Desegregation
  • Document Analysis Worksheet