The original 19th Amendment will be on display from October 19-24 at the Clinton Presidential Library. If you’re near Little Rock, Arkansas, visit the Library to see the amendment that guarantees all American women the right to vote.
Pictured here, President William Jefferson Clinton, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Chelsea Clinton waving from the back of the campaign train during the Huntington Train Kick-off event for the whistle stop tour. Huntington, West Virginia. 8/25/96
-from the Clinton Library, National Archives ID: 6160456
Eisenhower Dispatches Federal Troops to Enforce Desegregation
On September 24, 1957, The Little Rock Nine attended their first full day of classes after President Eisenhower ordered the dispatch of the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army to ensure the students’ safety and to uphold the law of the Supreme Court.
On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education that 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.
The ensuing struggle between segregationists and integrationists, the State of Arkansas and the federal government, President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus, has become known in modern American history as the “Little Rock Crisis.” The crisis gained world-wide attention. When Governor Faubus ordered the Arkansas National Guard to surround Central High School to keep the nine students from entering the school, President Eisenhower ordered the 101st Airborne Division into Little Rock.
The manuscript holdings of the Eisenhower Presidential Library contain a large amount of documentation on this historic test of the Brown vs. Topeka ruling and school integration. See selections from the digital catalog here.
Photo: Little Rock Nine escorted into Central High School by U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division soldiers. Courtesy of Central High Museum Historical Collections.
-from the Eisenhower Library
Wow, the wonderful world of Tumblr at work here. Coolchicksfromhistory provided this insightful historical note to a photo we posted. Thanks for being awesome Tumblr’ers. We like learning from you.
Below is a timeline of the integration of Little Rock’s Central High from Our Presidents. The top photo was taken on September 4, 1957, the first day of school. Fifteen year old Elizabeth Eckford (pictured) should have been part of a group of nine students, but at the last minute the NAACP delayed the integration because they believed the governor was going to bring in the Arkansas National Guard to prevent their enrollment. Elizabeth was the only one would didn’t get the message and showed up for school that day.
Elizabeth arrived to find an angry mob and no organized protection. Grace Lorch (pictured), a 50 something white member of the NAACP, dropped her daughter off at junior high that morning and stopped by the high school to see what was going on. Grace found Elizabeth on her own and escorted her to her mother’s workplace via a city bus.
Think for a second about what it must have been like to have been either of those women. Elizabeth was only 15 years old and a historic event rested on her bravery. One of six children, her mother taught in a segregated school for blind and deaf children while her father worked nights for the railroad. Either of them could have lost their jobs over her enrollment at Central High. Their house could have been firebombed, they could have been killed. All for going to school.
Grace was a serious social justice advocate, both she and her husband had lost jobs over their activism. That day she told the crowd they would be ashamed of themselves in six months and if anyone touched her she would punch them in the nose. Grace wasn’t an armed National Guard, but she was one tough lady.
In the summer of 1957, the city of Little Rock, Arkansas, made plans to desegregate its public schools.