sep 9, 1957 - Little Rock
The whites feared Black children being integrated within their education system for several reasons:
1. They said that ‘Race mixing is communism’- as communism is founded on the belief that all men were equal, and thus Black men were supposed to be integrated and treated as equals by White men. This made some of the Whites believe that the integration of Blacks, especially in schools, was a communist practice and should therefor be stopped. (Communism was greatly feared after McCarthyism and the Cold War, particularly during the 50's).
2. Many used religion as an 'excuse'. In the picture below a woman holding the quote ‘Cursed is the man who integrates- Holy Bible Jeremiah 11:3-6’ can be seen Many used Catholicism to provide ‘evidence’ that school integration was against their strict and important values. Yet, the real text in Jeremiah 11:3-6 states:
“And say thou unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel; Cursed be the man that obeyeth not the words of this covenant, Which I commanded your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, Obey my voice, and do them, according to all which I command you: so shall ye be my people, and I will be your God:That I may perform the oath which I have sworn unto your fathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as it is this day. Then answered I, and said, So be it, O Lord.
This is the opposite message of the woman’s poster, saying that all men, if they obey the lord, should be given ‘a land flowing with milk and honey’.
In little Rock, the NAACP thought the integration of nine black children in a White High School would be successful, They accepted everything in Arkansas- thought they would take the school education as another logical step that would improve the Black lives. The School leaders were very helpful regarding the integration, and they didn't predict the mobs that would arise.
Yet when the NAACP tried to integrate nine young Black children into the school, it was a different story. 'You could cut it with a knife the tension outside the school'- stated journalist Craig Rains. There were people even from other states that came to bar the children entry and protest. The National guard turned the 8 students away. The 9th student had missed the call- she walked alone and met a mob. She refused to say anything. She had a crowd of White people threatening to kill her- no one to turn to except one old woman who guided her to the bus and to safety.
Eisenhower felt like he had to act, stating ‘An extreme situation has been created in little rock, this challenge must be met and with such measures as will serve for the people as a whole, their lawfully protected rights. If resistance to the Federal court order seizes at once, the further presence of Federal troops will be unnecessary…mob rule will not be allowed to override the laws of our Supreme courts.’ He felt that, and was told by many advisers, Governor Faubus could be reasoned with. In mid-September, and they had a meeting in Eisenhower's holiday home. He though he had persuaded him- yet he felt let down when Faubus decided against utilizing state troops to protect the children.
Little Rock presented an event in which the NAACP's, and even the Federal government's, helplessness against state oppression was revealed.
Added to timeline:
International Baccalaureate History- The Civil Rights Movement