The Little Rock school desegregation crisis of 1957 is one of the most-recognized historical events in America in the 20th century. Even those with only a cursory understanding of the Civil Rights movement in America likely are able to conjure images of the mob action that took place at Central High School in September 1957. The images, even if not the full meaning, of what happened then have become part of American culture, the nation’s collective memory. Like many memories, though, they can fade or lose their potency amid the welter of images and vital news stories that come to us every day from so many media sources.
- excerpt from Witness to Courage: Administrative History of Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
Here we examine some of the key figures involved at the forefront - and perhaps in the background - before, during and after the first fundamental test to the United States’ resolve to enforce African American civil rights in the face of massive southern defiance following Brown v. Board of Education.
Last updated: January 21, 2022