The Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s
Photo by Ira Wilmer Counts for the Arkansas Democrat. Arkansas History Commission.
In 1957 Daisy Bates and the Little Rock, Arkansas National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) decided to test the Supreme Court's historic 1954 ruling on Brown v. Board of Education, which banned segregation in the schools. When the students, who became known as the Little Rock Nine, tried to enter Central High School, Governor Orval Faubus ordered the Arkansas National Guard to prevent them from entering the building. After a stalemate that lasted almost two weeks President Eisenhower ordered Faubus to use the National Guard to protect the students instead. Faubus refused to comply and Eisenhower sent in paratroopers from the 101st Airborne Division. Eight of the students completed the year, enduring constant threats and abuse. In this photo fifteen-year-old Elizabeth Eckford, who had a heart condition, braves an angry mob while trying to enter the school. That day the other African American students had been told that they should not attempt go to school, but Eckford's family did not have a phone.
The woman with dark hair who is screaming at Eckford is Hazel Bryan, (now Massery). Not wanting to be "the poster child for the hate generation," Massery apologized to Eckford in 1963. Today, they travel and speak together about the events of that day.