BRIAN FUL­TON’S DAY IN HIS­TORY — 63 YEARS AGO

The Times-Tribune - - BRIEFLY - BRIAN FUL­TON, li­brary man­ager, over­sees The Times-tri­bune’s ex­pan­sive dig­i­tal and pa­per ar­chives and is an author­ity on lo­cal his­tory. Con­tact Brian at bful­ton@timessham­rock.com or 570348-9140.

Sept. 25, 1957

Lit­tle Rock High School in­te­grated

To­day, Sept. 25, nine black stu­dents were es­corted by a group of para­troop­ers from the 101st Air­borne Di­vi­sion to take their place at Cen­tral High School in Lit­tle Rock, Arkansas.

Pres­i­dent Dwight Eisen­hower or­dered the sol­diers to Lit­tle Rock to en­sure that “mob rule can not be al­lowed to over­ride the de­ci­sions of the court.”

The nine stu­dents were Ernest Green, El­iz­a­beth Eck­ord, Ter­rence Roberts, Jef­fer­son Thomas, Car­lotta Walls, Min­ni­jean Brown, Glo­ria Ray, Thelma Mother­shed and Melba Pat­tillo.

As the troops es­corted the stu­dents to the school, two men were in­jured. One man tried to grab a soldier’s ri­fle. That man was struck in the face with the butt of the ri­fle. The sec­ond man re­ceived a cut from a soldier’s bay­o­net be­cause he was too slow in obey­ing the soldier’s or­der.

Once the stu­dents were inside the school, Prin­ci­pal Jess Matthews told the press “ev­ery­thing is calm inside the school and ed­u­ca­tion is pro­ceed­ing nor­mally.” An­other school of­fi­cial said that a to­tal num­ber of 1,250 stu­dents were in at­ten­dance with 750 ab­sent. The day be­fore 800 stu­dents were ab­sent.

At the be­gin­ning of Septem­ber, Arkansas Gov. Or­val Faubus called out the Arkansas Na­tional Guard to pre­vent the nine stu­dents from at­tend­ing school at Cen­tral High

School. On Sept. 20, U.S. Judge Ron­ald Davies or­dered the Na­tional Guard be re­moved and for the Lit­tle Rock Po­lice to es­cort the stu­dents into the school.

Protests erupted when the po­lice es­corted the stu­dents into the school on Sept. 23. As the protest­ing in­ten­si­fied, the stu­dents were es­corted back out of the school. Eisen­hower then an­nounced that he was send­ing in the 101st Air­borne and that he was fed­er­al­iz­ing the Arkansas Na­tional Guard.

Salk vac­cine free

Dr. Fran­cis Boland, pres­i­dent of the Lack­awanna County Med­i­cal So­ci­ety, an­nounced that chil­dren in Lack­awanna County who had re­ceived two in­oc­u­la­tions of the Salk an­tipo­lio vac­cine would re­ceive the fi­nal and most im­por­tant in­oc­u­la­tion for free.

The county re­ceived enough vac­cines to in­oc­u­late 35,000 chil­dren. The in­oc­u­la­tion would be ad­min­is­tered at school start­ing in Oc­to­ber.

Boland pub­licly thanked Dr. Frank Larkin for work­ing out the agree­ment with the state Depart­ment of Health to pro­vide the last in­oc­u­la­tion for free.

Boland re­minded par­ents that if their child was not vac­ci­nated and had started school, they needed to visit their fam­ily doc­tor to re­ceive the vac­ci­na­tion.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE

Troops of the 101st Air­borne Di­vi­sion keep a small crowd mov­ing that had gath­ered Sept. 25, 1957, across the street from Lit­tle Rock Cen­tral High School.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS FILE

In this Sept. 25, 1957, file photo, troops of the 101st Air­borne Di­vi­sion es­cort nine black stu­dents into Lit­tle Rock Cen­tral High School.

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