History + Culture

National Guard troops in military jeeps parked on the street in front of the entrance to Central High School National Guard troops in military jeeps parked on the street in front of the entrance to Central High School

Left image
Central High School, ca. 1957-1958.
Credit: Central High Museum, Inc., COLL.B.12.I.257, no date, National Park Service, Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site

Right image
Many features from the historic period still exist. However, the utility poles that once lined S. Park Street are gone.
Credit: NPS Central High School Cultural Landscape Report (2007)

 

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 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.

Explore the stories, people and places that make up the moments of Central High's desegregation by the Little Rock Nine and learn how the sacrifice and struggle over a half century ago have provided opportunities and opened doors to those seeking equality—and education—around the world.

 
A mural depicting Elizabeth Eckford in front of Central High with books bearing the names of the 9.

Stories

Stories that capture the moments before, during and after the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School.

The Little Rock Nine are escorted up the stairs leading into Central High by the 101st Airborne.

People

Learn more about the people integral in Central High School's desegregation and this key moment in the civil rights movement.

The front façade of Central High with animated figures of the Nine during a 3D video program in 2017

Places

Examine the places inextricably linked to the story of the Little Rock Nine and Central High School's desegregation in 1957.

Allegorical statues raise their arms to interlock their respective rings in the effort to be United

Crisis Timeline

A chronological listing of the important dates, events and people who shaped the desegregation crisis at Central High School.

Last updated: August 18, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Little Rock Central High School NHS
2120 W. Daisy L. Gatson Bates Drive

Little Rock, AR 72202-5212

Phone:

501.374.1957

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