A Life Is More Than a Moment: The Desegregation of Little Rock's Central High

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These are the stunning photographs that shocked the conscience of the nation in 1957. President Dwight Eisenhower was so moved at the beating of veteran Alex Wilson that he ordered 1,200 paratroopers from the 101st Airborne to Little Rock, and he federalized the Arkansas National Guard to quell the "disgraceful occurrences." But how did it happen? Little Rock seemed an unlikely place for such violent hatred; it did not even see itself as part of the Deep South and had voluntarily decided to desegregrate the ...
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Overview

These are the stunning photographs that shocked the conscience of the nation in 1957. President Dwight Eisenhower was so moved at the beating of veteran Alex Wilson that he ordered 1,200 paratroopers from the 101st Airborne to Little Rock, and he federalized the Arkansas National Guard to quell the "disgraceful occurrences." But how did it happen? Little Rock seemed an unlikely place for such violent hatred; it did not even see itself as part of the Deep South and had voluntarily decided to desegregrate the schools. Essays by Will Campbell, Bob McCord, and Ernie Dumas chart the path leading to the crisis, as well as the impact of the crisis on the national civil rights movement.. "Young Will Counts had been with the Arkansas Democrat for only about three months on that fateful Labor Day in 1957. Recently graduated from Indiana University with a master's degree, he had been pleased to get a job with his hometown newspaper, though he didn't expect to see much action.. "Governor Orval Faubus' surprise decision to surround Central High with Arkansas National Guard troops and prevent nine black students from entering changed everything. The prospect of covering a major civil rights story in his own hometown was exhilarating. He headed for the school wearing a "blend-in" plaid shirt and armed with his beloved small camera. Three Life magazine staffers - Francis Miller, Grey Villette, and Paul Welch - found that their coats and ties quickly identified them as outsiders. They were attacked by the mob and (adding insult to injury) arrested by the police. Will was able to move freely through the crowds and was accepted everywhere as a native son. His photographs capture the essence of thosedark days.
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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Photographer Counts took one of the defining images of the civil rights movement: Elizabeth Eckford, one of the nine black students chosen to integrate Little Rock, Ark.'s Central High School in 1957, being taunted by a white female student. Counts returned to Central High 40 years later and with images from the late '50s he juxtaposes those from the late '90s: Eckford and her former tormenter, Hazel Bryan Massery, chatting amiably in front of the school building, black and white cheerleaders joining together at a basketball game, a popular black teacher leading an integrated class in trigonometry, black and white students graduating together in cap and gown. Accompanying essays recount the events so graphically illustrated in Counts's photographs and put that fall day in 1957 in historical context. A hopeful reminider of how far we've come in four short decades.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253336378
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1999
  • Pages: 76
  • Product dimensions: 10.19 (w) x 8.81 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction
A Perspective of Central High 1
An Unexpected Crisis 9
Covering the Crisis 29
Back to Central High 57
The Congressional Gold Medal 75
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