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The Fight for African American Civil Rights

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Throughout the United States during the mid-1900's, there were many events that shaped the fight for African American civil rights. One event in particular was the fight for integrating Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. The unimaginable defiance of Federal authority by a governor and a southern city divided by race struggled with public school integration and d. This paper will describe how the process of integration began, how it was prevented, and how success was achieved it became by including an in depth analysis of several newspaper and magazine articles that were published during this period in history.

This article from a Canadian newspaper proves how important the situation regarding integration in schools across the United States was and how everyone should be aware of its severity. The integration process was big news especially since it involved the equal opportunity for African Americans to receive a proper education. Since the NAACP enrolled nine teenaged students at Central High School for the new school year, Governor Orval Faubus wanted to keep the school free of blacks and proceeded to call on over two hundred armed militiamen from the National Guard of Arkansas to guard the school doors. This article really put the situation into perspective and revealed how serious the integration situation was in the 1950's. The reader can get a grasp on how hateful Governor Faubus was and defiant in his opposition towards the Supreme Court decision to desegregate all schools nationwide. The article did not show any explicit bias, but it did show how adamant Faubus was in trying to prevent public school integration1.

This next article from a Texas newspaper revealed that the Arkansas School Board wanted the enforcement of integration of Central High School to be temporarily halted due to tensions rising among the student body and their parents. Other than the handful of reasons why the school board wanted a halt of integration, it was also mentioned that the arrest of Governor Faubus was in the process of being determined. The article allows the reader to grasp the ongoing confusion and stress that surrounded the situation of desegregation in Little Rock. Not only was there confusion about arresting Faubus, but the reasons behind why Central High School was unable to follow through with educational integration2.

In this article, Governor Orval Faubus of Arkansas is portrayed in a defiant manner towards the U.S. Federal Government. The first wave of integration at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas was a court approved action and Governor Faubus did not want to see it happen. There was a United States Marshal that was ordered to escort and provide security for the Negro students inside the school. Faubus decided that he would direct Arkansas troops from the National Guard to forcibly prevent the ushering of the students inside the school. The article mentions how Faubus put himself in a compromising position with the Government. The integration of Central High School could prove to be an integral addition to the nation's history but the achieving this historical moment would be a struggle3. During the time of trying to get public schools integrated, several newspaper articles and Time Magazine published articles regarding President Eisenhower's effort to uphold the Supreme Court's decision to provide equal education opportunities for African Americans. Arkansas Governor Faubus made it clear that he was not going to abide by the Court or the President so a forceful measure needed to be taken.

This article, "Making a Crisis in Arkansas," painted a picture of the hours leading up to the first day of court-ordered integration of Central High School. The initial crisis was described as a Faubus fashioned crisis since his words and actions instigated the citywide mob of parents and other disgruntled citizens to discriminate against the entire African American community. The mob of white residents attempted to make the Negro students think twice about integrating themselves at Central High. The article includes several quotes from unruly citizens as well as students that felt the need to express their disdain for Federal troops. Any sight of an African American adult or student resulted in anger and derogatory slurs. Judge Roger Davies is portrayed as a strong force of authority and explained that "Integration Must Begin." This day would not end with integration, but sooner than later, Central High School would allow its first group of African American students into their classrooms. 4

This article presents President Eisenhower's predicament that he was pushed into by Governor Faubus' disregard for authority. The President was not in the happiest of spirits over his decision to bring in troops to Little Rock but it was a necessary one. The article used great imagery to portray the onslaught of Federal troops making their way into Little Rock. The convoys made their way into the city and did their duty of suppressing the guardsmen who were preventing integration under Governor Faubus' orders. The sight of Eisenhower's appointed troops sparked mixed emotions in Little Rock and other Northern and Southern states as well as Southern Baptist ministers who rallied to get churches integrated before the schools. Another article, "President Pleads to End Strife," published in this newspaper regarding Eisenhower's television broadcast aimed to end the interference of integration was hardly a plea in terms of what most people perceive a plea. Eisenhower was not on his hands and knees crying for help, but he did mention his sadness of the situation and would firmly stand behind his decision to enforce the law by bringing in Federal troops to Little Rock.

Throughout the Washington Afro American paper published on September 28, 1957, there were several articles depicting the goings on at Central High School in Little Rock and the emotions surrounding the school's integration. There was also a photo of the 101st Airborne Division that added severity to the mental picture readers had already established. It is very important to include the thoughts of citizens residing in Little Rock, especially the African American population, regarding the struggle for integration at Central High School. Another article included in this edition entitled "Ike Ends the Mob Rule in Little Rock," brings a tense look at the integration situation.

The tone of this article is a serious one and an event like the integration of black and white students was a serious matter during the 1950's. The integration of Central High School was a monumental step in the South and the numerous mobs that were fighting as the opposition needed to be suppressed and driven away. This was a Federal Issue and the article reinforces the severity by including



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