Little Rock Central High School Newspaper
Thursday, September 19, 1957
Classes were scheduled to begin promptly at 8:45 a.m., September 3, at Little Rock Central High School when incidents began happening which caused the school to be the center of nationwide publicity. Photographs and articles have appeared in national magazines, and newspapers throughout the United States have told the story of how nine Negro students had been registered for admission to Central. To better understand the happenings of the past two weeks, here is a summary of the history of the school situation.
Supreme Court Rules
On May 17, 1954 the United States Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation in the schools was unconstitutional. Just five days later the Little Rock School Board issued a policy statement that said it would comply with the Supreme Court decision when the Court outlined the method to be followed. In May, 1955 the School Board adopted a plan of gradual integration under which the high school grades would be integrated started in September, 1957.
Negroes File Suit
Twenty-seven Negroes attempted to register in Little Rock schools in January, 1956, but were refused admission. A suit was then filed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People on February 8, 1956, charging that 33 Negroes had been denied admittance to four Little Rock schools solely because of race. Federal Judge John E. Miller dismissed the NAACP suite, declaring that the Little Rock School Board had acted in utmost good faith in setting up its plan of gradual integration. The case was appealed, but the Eighth United States Circuit Court of Appeals at St. Louis upheld Judge Miller's dismissal of the suit.
Pulaski Chancellor Murry O. Reed issued a temporary injunction against enrolling Negroes in Central High August 29, after Mrs. Clyde Thomason, recording secretary of the Mother's League, had filed suit in Pulaski Chancery Court. Federal District Judge Ronald N. Davies of North Dakota nullified the Pulaski Chancery Court injunction the next day and ordered the School Board to proceed with its gradual integration plan beginning with the opening of school on September 3.
Governor Calls Guard
Governor Orval Faubus called out the Arkansas National Guard and the State Police on the night of September 2 to surround the LRCHS campus with instructions to keep peace and order. About 270 Army and Air National Guard troops under the command of Colonel Marion Johnson formed lines for the two blocks along the front of the school. The first day of school drew a crowd of about 300 spectators; the troops had closed the streets around the school to all traffic. There were groups of uniformed men posted at each entrance and all sides of the building with orders to admit only students, teachers, and school officials. Judge Davies again ordered integration to proceed at a hearing which lasted less than five minutes on the night of September 3.
Nine Negroes Arrive
Nine Negro students arrived to enroll at Central on the second day of school but were turned away by the National Guardsmen at the direction of Governor Faubus. That afternoon Federal Judge Davies ordered an investigation by all offices of the Department of Justice to determine who was responsible for the interference of the court's order to proceed with integration. The National Guard remained on duty. A petition asking for a stay of the integration order was sought in the interest of education by the School Board on September 7, but it was denied by Judge Davies.
Gov. Accepts Summons
A week after school had opened, on September 10, Governor Faubus was served with a Federal Court summons. Federal Judge Davies ordered the Governor and the Arkansas National Guard made defendants in the case and scheduled a hearing for tomorrow, September 20. Later that day, the nine Negroes who had failed to enter LRCHS said they would not make another attempt until after the hearing. At a press conference after the summons had been accepted Governor Faubus said that the Guard Troops would remain at Central for the time being.
Historic Meeting Occurs
Last Saturday an unprecedented
conference took place between President Eisenhower and Governor Faubus
at Newport, Rhode Island, to discuss the school situation. Although
many details have been written about this meeting, no definite statements
have been made as to the possible outcome.