Oxford AASC: Photo Essay

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PHOTO ESSAY

Brown v. Board of Education

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School classes on television, 1958

Courtesy of Library of Congress.

The conflict at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, proved to be one of the most decisive moments of the desegregation era. The enrollment of nine African American students led to a standoff between Arkansas Governor Orval Fabus, who attempted to block the students from entering the school, and a federal government bound to enforce the Supreme Court's ruling. Although the "Little Rock Nine" gained admission to Central High in 1957 when President Eisenhower ordered the National Guard to escort them to school, the school year was marred by racism and violence. In an attempt to block further integration, Little Rock's schools were closed by order of Governor Fabus for the 1958/1959 school year. During this "lost year" students were forced to attend classes in other communities or move elsewhere, while many others simply did not attend school at all. In this photograph from September 1958 a young African American woman watches a televised high school class during the time when the schools were closed.

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