The Integration of Central High School Little Rock, Arkansas The desegregation of public facilities began with the decision of Brown vs Board of Education in 1954, where the Supreme Court of the United States deemed segregation unlawful and unconstitutional. The country was told that desegregation was to take place “with all deliberate speed”. This angered the white community. Violent retaliation was the means used to prevent the integration of blacks into various public facilities. In fact, the Autherine Lucy case demonstrated to the entire country that violent mobs could halt integration demanded by a federal court order. However, three years later, the Little Rock Crisis would affirm that if provoked by mobs, the executive branch of the US government would impose by force a federal court order. Shortly after the Brown decision, the Little Rock school board decided to voluntarily work out a plan for desegregation. The board decided to start at the top with one of the newest and best schools in the country, Central High School. In the beginning, somewhere around 400 black students were supposed to be integrated into the school because they lived in the Central school district. When the time grew nearer, the board faltered and began cutting the number down. Soon there were certain requirements needed to attend the school. Black students were required to register, which only about 75 did so. Somehow the board was able to eliminate any plaintiffs from the NAACP so the number was greatly reduced to 25 and then 9. Those last students became known as the “Little Rock Nine”. The governor of Arkansas at the time was Orval Faubus. Before the Little Rock Crisis, Faubus had been popular and supportive of both the white and black communities. When this situation arose, however, politics ruled the direction in which Faubus leaned. Gov. Faubus was up for reelection. No man had yet been elected for a 3rd term as governor of Arkansas….
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