President Dwight D. Eisenhower Orders Federal Troops into Little Rock to Insure the Safety of Nine African American Students
Today in history, after state and local authorities failed to uphold the Federal Court orders for integration at Central High School, President Eisenhower sent the 101st Airborne Division to enforce those orders.
The conflict dated back to the May 17, 1954, U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education, which stated segregated schools are “inherently unequal.” In September 1957, as a result of that ruling, nine African American students enrolled at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Before the school year started, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus ordered the state’s National Guard to surround Central High School to prevent entry of the African American students. The crisis escalated into mob riots, prompting a plea from the Mayor of Little Rock, Woodrow Wilson Mann, for federal assistance in the confrontation.
Eisenhower wrote in his notes from the day: “Troops - not to enforce integration but to prevent opposition by violence” to the Supreme Court’s ruling.
Students, soldiers, and newsmen in front of Central High School. Circa September, 1957. Courtesy of the Central High Museum Historical Collections.
President Eisenhower’s special broadcast on the Little Rock situation. September 24, 1957.
Telegram, Woodrow Wilson Mann to President Eisenhower, September 24, 1957.
Handwritten notes by President Eisenhower on decision to send troops to Little Rock, September 1957.
A photo of General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander Allied Forces, speaking to his second cousin, Sgt. George C. Etherington of Abilene, Kansas. Etherington served with the Chemical Warfare Section of the 2nd Infantry Division in France. July, 1944.
-from the Eisenhower Library
Style and Influence: First Ladies’ Fashions
From the first days on a campaign trail to the final days living in the White House, the First Ladies of the United States have attracted attention in numerous ways. Both historic and modern First Ladies have harnessed the power of fashion to build identity and inform Americans. In conjunction with our exhibition “Making Their Mark,” we present a distinguished panel to discuss and examine the fashions of America’s First Ladies through conversation and photos. Moderated by Tim Gunn, star of Project Runway, panelists include Valerie Steele, Director and Chief Curator, the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology; Lisa Kathleen Graddy, Deputy Chair and Chief Curator of Political History and the First Ladies Collection, Smithsonian National Museum of American History; and Tracy Reese, a fashion designer who has designed for First Lady Michelle Obama. Presented in partnership with the White House Historical Association.
Tuesday, September 30, at 7 p.m. in the William G. McGowan Theater
The discussion will be streamed live on YouTube.
September 21, 1949 - Mao Zedong announces that The Communist Party of China will lead the new Chinese government.
Twenty-six years later, Mao Zedong would shake hands with U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger during President Ford’s visit to China. This photo was taken on a visit to Chairman Mao’s residence in Peking by the Gerald R. Ford, daughter Susan Ford, and Kissinger. December 2, 1975.
President Kennedy favored a few dresses worn by Mrs. Kennedy
President Kennedy’s favorites included this black silk velvet and Chinese yellow silk satin evening dress designed by Chez Ninon. Mrs. Kennedy wore it to a White House state dinner honoring President Manuel Prado of Peru on September 19, 1961.
-from the JFK Library
Ahoy, mateys! ‘Tis Talk Like a Pirate Day.
Here be President Gerald “Arrr” Ford talkin’ wit’ Al Oliver, a Pirate from t’ three rivers o’ Pittsburgh, before t’ Major League All-Starrr Game on July 13, 1976.
Football Friday: Oakland Raiders
Members of the Oakland Raiders gave President Ford this football during a visit to the White house on September 26, 1975. It is signed by members of the 1975 Raiders team, including future Hall of Famers John Madden, Jim Otto, Dave Casper, and George Blanda. Other notable signatures include Mark van Eeghen, Ray Guy, Ken Stabler, Al Davis and John Robinson.
Head Coach John Madden led the Oakland Raiders from 1969 until his departure in 1978. During his tenure the team often held first place in the AFC West division, and during the mid ’70s they played in the conference championship four years in a row.
Coach Madden brought the team to the 1975 American Football Conference (AFC) West Championship game, which they disappointingly lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 16-10. At the time the Raiders and the Steelers were considered by some to be the best teams in the NFL. This game was one of many during a bitter dirty rivalry that spanned several years. The team finished the season at 11-3.
The following season the Raiders won Super Bowl XI, their first NFL championship. President Ford sent the team a congratulatory telegram after their victory over the Minnesota Vikings.
As the Oakland Raiders’ sixth head coach Madden never had a losing season. Additionally, his career winning percentage still ranks second in NFL history.
Today is POW/MIA Recognition Day, which is observed on the third Friday in September in honor of prisoners of war and those still missing in action.
In this photo from 1973, these American servicemen, former prisoners of war, are cheering as their aircraft takes off from an airfield near Hanoi, Vietnam, as part of Operation Homecoming. This Operation made possible the return of 591 American prisoners of war held by North Vietnam, some of whom had been held for up to 8 years.
Today, more than 83,000 Americans are still missing from World War II, the Korean War, the Cold War, the Vietnam War, and the 1991 Gulf War. The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office continues to try to locate the missing, sometimes doing research at the National Archives at St. Louis, where military service records are held.