Spot­light

Cecil Whig - - ACCENT -

To­day some 236 years ago, the Amer­i­can Gen­eral Bene­dict Arnold com­mit­ted his now in­fa­mous act of trea­son, in re­turn for money and a high-rank­ing po­si­tion in the Bri­tish army. Arnold met with Bri­tish Ma­jor John An­dre on Sept. 21, 1780, to dis­cuss giv­ing West Point to Bri­tish con­trol.

The plan was un­cov­ered, how­ever, and An­dre was cap­tured and killed. Arnold swapped sides and later led Bri­tish troops in Vir­ginia and Con­necti­cut. He went on to re-lo­cate to Eng­land, but died in 1801, never re­ceiv­ing all of what the Bri­tish had promised him.

Even now in the United States, his name is syn­ony­mous with “traitor.”

On Sept. 22, 1975, Pres­i­dent Gerald Ford sur­vived his sec­ond as­sas­si­na­tion at­tempt in a span of less than three weeks.

Sara Jane Moore, an F.B.I. in­for­mant at the time of the as­sas­si­na­tion at­tempt, aimed a gun at Ford as he left a San Fran­cisco ho­tel. A by­stander, Viet­nam War vet­eran Oliver Sip­ple, in­stinc­tively grabbed her arm and pre­vented the shot from hit­ting Ford. Moore was given a life sen­tence for the at­tempt but was re­leased from prison in 2007.

The first at­tempt at Ford’s as­sas­si­na­tion came 17 days be­fore Moore’s, from the gun of Lynette Alice “Squeaky” Fromme, a mem­ber of the Man­son Fam­ily. She was also sen­tenced to life im­pris­on­ment but re­leased in 2009.

A much more pos­i­tive event was the in­te­gra­tion of Cen­tral High School in Lit­tle Rock, Arkansas, on Sept. 25, 1957.

A divi­sion of the U.S. Army es­corted nine black stu­dents (nick­named the “Lit­tle Rock Nine”) into the all-white high school, three weeks after Arkansas Gover­nor Or­val Faubus sur­rounded it with Na­tional Guard troops to keep them from en­ter­ing. A stand­off had en­sued, and it’d forced Pres­i­dent Dwight D. Eisen­hower to fed­er­al­ize the state’s Na­tional Guard and send 1,000 Army para­troop­ers to en­force the fed­eral or­der to in­te­grate.

This all came three years after the U.S. Supreme Court’s rul­ing on Brown v. Board of Ed­u­ca­tion of Topeka in 1954 — the de­ci­sion that ed­u­ca­tional fa­cil­i­ties could not se­gre­gate on the ba­sis of race. This event marked the big­gest test of fed­eral over state power since the time of Re­con­struc­tion.

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