Restricted Access to Central High School
All park visitors, including tour buses, must park in the Visitor Center parking lot at 2120 West Daisy Gatson Bates Drive. Street parking is reserved for Little Rock School District buses and parents. Visitors may only enter Central on guided tours.
The National Historic Site Visitor Center will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, December 25 and January 1. The Visitor Center may close at 2:30 PM on the day before each of these federal holidays. The Visitor Center number is 501.374.1957.
History & Culture
In the fall of 1957 Little Rock became the symbol of state resistance to school desegregation. Arkansas Governor Orval E. Faubus directly questioned the sanctity of the federal court system and the authority of the United States Supreme Court's desegregation ruling while nine African-American high school students sought an education at the all-white Little Rock Central High School.
The controversy in Little Rock was the first fundamental test of the United States resolve to enforce African-American civil rights in the face of massive southern defiance during the period following the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decisions. When President Dwight D. Eisenhower was compelled by white mob violence to use federal troops to ensure the rights of African-American children to attend the previously all-white school, he became the first president since the post-Civil War Reconstruction period to use federal troops in support of African-American civil rights.
Did You Know?
In 1999 the Little Rock Nine each received the Congressional Gold Medal-our nation's highest civilian honor-for their efforts to desegregate Little Rock Central High School. Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site