Today the World Is Watching You: The Little Rock Nine and the Fight for School Integration, 1957

Overview

On September 4, 1957, nine African American teenagers made their way toward Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. They didn't make it very far. Armed soldiers of the Arkansas National Guard blocked most of them at the edge of campus. The three students who did make it onto campus faced an angry mob. White citizens spit at them and shouted ugly racial slurs. No black students entered Central that day. And if the angry mob had its way, black children would never attend ...

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Overview

On September 4, 1957, nine African American teenagers made their way toward Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. They didn't make it very far. Armed soldiers of the Arkansas National Guard blocked most of them at the edge of campus. The three students who did make it onto campus faced an angry mob. White citizens spit at them and shouted ugly racial slurs. No black students entered Central that day. And if the angry mob had its way, black children would never attend school with white children.

But the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in 1955 that school segregation—that is, separate schools for black children and white children—was unconstitutional. The Court ordered the nation's schools to be integrated. Nowhere was that process more hateful and more horrific than in Little Rock.

Eventually, the nine students did make it into Central High—under the protection of army soldiers. Once inside Central, they faced a never-ending torrent of abuse from white students. But the nine students persevered. Their courage inspired the growing movement for African American civil rights.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—Readers may be familiar with this historic event, but Magoon provides a deeper look into the students' lives and discusses the isolation, frustrations, and very real dangers they faced both inside and outside of Central High School. In this extensively researched volume, the author also presents information about the political and judicial decisions that were made in relation to this event and how it forever changed the landscape of race relations in the country. Well-paced and engaging, the book is broken up into manageable chapters and gives background information on racial tensions in America starting with the days of slavery. The information is carefully documented, and source notes are appended, along with an extensive time line and a "who's who." Black-and-white photographs and text boxes give additional information and context. Although Stephanie Fitzgerald's The Little Rock Nine: Struggle for Integration (Compass Point, 2006) addresses the topic, Magoon's offering is broader in scope and makes an ideal purchase for research purposes.—Rita Meade, Brooklyn Public Library, NY
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Kekla Magoon is the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award-winning author of The Rock and the River, a young adult novel set in the civil rights era. She holds a B.A. in history from Northwestern University and a master of fine arts in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Kekla visits schools and libraries around the country to speak about her work, and she teaches writing workshops to youth and adults. She serves as coeditor of Young Adult and Children's Literature for the arts journal Hunger Mountain.
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