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Desegregation At Little Rock: Historical Background (Research Paper Sample)


This semester, for your fourth paper, you will need to choose one of the news-making events from the Civil Rights Movement

The Sit-In Movement

The Death of Emmett Till

Desegregation at Little Rock

The Freedom Rides

Go search Google Images for a photo from this important event in U.S. history.

Now that you have chosen your photograph on which you will base your research project, the next step is to formulate questions that will help you find out more about the particular historical event to which the photo is tied. Think in terms of journalistic questions (Who, What, Where, When, Why and How).

For example, if you chose "Greensboro Sit-In", some of your questions might take the following form:

Who was involved in the sit-in? Who tried to help and how?
What caused the sit-in to start?
When and where was this picture taken?
What effect did this picture have on bringing attention to the crisis?

Prompt: Your essay will involve the background on the historical, and the impact that the event had on changing things.


Student’s Name

Professor’s Name


Date of Submission

Desegregation at Little Rock

Image of Elizabeth Eckford mocked by a crowd and denied entry to Little Rock Central High Schpool on September 4 1957.

Desegregation at Little Rock refers to an effort to desegregate the Little Rock Central High School. During this event, nine African American high-school students were involved in the process of desegregating the Little Rock Central High School which was an all-white high school.

Historical Background

In 1954, the Supreme Court passed a momentous decision in the Brown v. Board of Education that required that all racially segregated schools should integrate (Aretha 6). Based on the 14th Amendment, the ruling stated that segregation of schools was unconstitutional because black Americans did not have equal rights in representation. Before the Supreme Court decision, most schools in the United States possessed mandatory segregation rules where African Americans could not attend same schools with white children. Once the ruling was done, it faced extensive resistance such that the court has to issue another decision in 1955 that is largely referred to as the Brown II where the school districts were mandated to ensure faster integration (Aretha 7). After the 1954 ruling, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) made strides to ensure that could get black students enrolled in various schools that were previously all-white in different cities throughout the South. Little Rock was the capital city of Arkansas and the school board made the decision to obey the decision of the Supreme Court. The Superintendent of Schools, Virgil Blossom came up with a plan that would allow integration and submitted it to the board where the board approved the plan unanimously. In this plan, the implementation of integration was to be done in September of 1957 (Aretha 7).

The Capital Citizens Council was one of the main groups that opposed the plan followed by the Mother’s League of Central High School. However, regardless of the strong opposition, the NAACP went ahead and had approximately nine black students registered to begin studies at the Central High School. The nine students were Elizabeth Eckford, Gloria Ray, Melba Patillo, Minnijean Brown, Thelma Mothershed, Jefferson Thomas, Ernest green, Carlotta Walls, and Terrence Roberts (Aretha 12). These students who formed a group of nine came to be popularly known as the Little Rock Nine. The NAACP under the guidance of Daisy Gaston Bates, who was the president of the Arkansas took a leading role in selecting those who would to join Little Rock Central High School. Bates and other members of Arkansas NAACP choose these students believing that they had the strength and willpower to endure the resistant that they would encounter at school. Before the 1957 school year, these students went through counseling sessions that helped them understand what to expect and the type of hostile situations they may encounter (Aretha 14).

On September 2 of 1957, a declaration was made by Governor Orval Faubus that the school would be protected by the Arkansas National Guard so that black students would not be allowed toaccess the Central High School. Faubus claimed that the move was to ensure the students’ own protection where he asserted

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