Little Rock Girl 1957: How a Photograph Changed the Fight for Integration

Overview

Nine African American students made history when they defied a governor and integrated an Arkansas high school in 1957. It was the photo of one of the nine trying to enter the school a young girl being taunted, harassed and threatened by an angry mob that grabbed the worlds attention and kept its disapproving gaze on Little Rock, Arkansas. In defiance of a federal court order, Governor Orval Faubus called in the National Guard to prevent the students from entering all white Central High School. The plan had been ...

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Overview

Nine African American students made history when they defied a governor and integrated an Arkansas high school in 1957. It was the photo of one of the nine trying to enter the school a young girl being taunted, harassed and threatened by an angry mob that grabbed the worlds attention and kept its disapproving gaze on Little Rock, Arkansas. In defiance of a federal court order, Governor Orval Faubus called in the National Guard to prevent the students from entering all white Central High School. The plan had been for the students to meet and go to school as a group on September 4, 1957. But one student, Elizabeth didn't, didnt hear of the plan and tried to enter the school alone. A chilling photo by newspaper photographer Will Counts captured the sneering expression of a girl in the mob and made history. Years later Counts snapped another photo, this one of the same two girls, now grownup, reconciling in front of Central High School.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 5–9—When Will Counts snapped a photo on September 4, 1957, Elizabeth Eckford reluctantly became the face of the fight for school integration in Little Rock. In it, Eckford is poised and stoic as Hazel Bryan, shouting violently, follows behind her. This book explores the photo in depth, providing the perspectives of the two subjects and the photographer and discussing what the image meant in the struggle for school integration. Tougas works with this premise and provides readers with a full account of this troubling time in American history. The author makes good use of quotes throughout the readable text, enabling today's students to imagine walking in the shoes of one of the Little Rock Nine. Each page includes an archival photo, primary-source document, or biography of a key player in the event. A testament to the power of the press and the bravery of all who fought for equal rights, this book should be required reading.—Heather Acerro, Rochester Public Library, MN
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780756545123
  • Publisher: Capstone Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/2011
  • Series: Captured History
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 327,649
  • Age range: 10 - 13 Years
  • Lexile: 1010L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Shelley Tougas worked in journalism and public relations before writing children’s books. She is the author of Little Rock Girl 1957: How a Photograph Changed the Fight for Integration, which was among Booklist’s 2011 Top Ten Editors’ Choices. Shelley lives, writes, and reads in North Mankato, Minnesota.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Amazing--brings history to life

    This book was just amazing. The author took a photograph that probably most adults have seen at least once in one of their history textbooks (whether they remember it or not) and really makes both it and the era come alive for readers of all ages.

    The photographs are definitely the stars in this book, as they really show readers snapshots of what was happening in the Arkansas of 1957, but the text is just as effective. It tells, simply but with great impact, what was going on in the South at that time. It's written so that even students who are completely unfamiliar with the Civil Rights Era can understand what was going on--I'd say at least from intermediate grades on up--but even those who have studied the time period in school before won't feel talked down to. It makes history both interesting and more "real" to readers. It begins with the (attempted) first day of school at Little Rock Central High School for Elizabeth Eckford (the "Little Rock Girl" of the title and photo), discusses the Little Rock Nine and their school experiences, and takes the reader right up through the Civil Rights Movement, its effects, and where Elizabeth and the other nine are today. There is a nicely detailed timeline in the back that goes from Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) all the way to the full integration of Little Rock's public schools in 1972...yes, 1972, fifteen years after integration began. There is a glossary of terms at the back, as well as a list of books and Internet sites readers can go to for more information.

    This is one book I will definitely be adding to my classroom library and using with my middle school classes. It would make an excellent resource for both classrooms and libraries, and every student could benefit from reading it. It makes the plight of Eckert and the other Little Rock Nine students seem far more real and relevant than any social studies book has ever managed to, in my opinion.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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