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You are here News Human Rights The day nine young students shattered racial segregation in US schools

The day nine young students shattered racial segregation in US schools

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Little Rock nine....60 years later

It was September 1957, the Jim Crow era of racial segregation, and nine black pupils little guessed they were about to plant a milestone in the struggle for civil rights to follow those of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old lynched in Mississippi in 1955, and Rosa Parks, who refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on a bus in Alabama later the same year.

Brown v Board of Education, the landmark 1954 supreme court ruling that segregated schools were unconstitutional, should have meant she and fellow pupils could take their places at Central High. But Governor Orval Faubus of Arkansas, in the deep south, remained defiant and used the national guard to block their enrollment. The African American children were left in limbo for three weeks.

On the first day of term, the national guard were there to stop the nine entering Central High, where all 1,900 attendees were white. Three weeks later, on 25 September, the group braved a hostile white crowd, climbed the school steps and were escorted to class by US army troops. They became known and revered as the Little Rock Nine.

TVNL Comment: We really have not come very far since that historic day.  Imagine the bravery of these young men and women who faced an ugly mob determined to show its hatred and bigotry.

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