Project - The Little Rock Crisis of September, 1957 Paula...

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The Little Rock Crisis of September, 1957 Paula M. Koren Historical Research Techniques H492.1 Professor Jim Owen January 1, 2008
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Historical Research Project Paula Koren January 1 st , 2008 The Little Rock Central High School Crisis, September, 1957 The Decision to Integrate The Little Rock Crisis is an extremely well known event in American history. Although racial tensions extended for years both before and after the crisis, the crisis itself is a condensed embodiment of the struggle of blacks for equality and the struggle of whites for retention of their familiar lifestyle. Numerous books have been written, photographs published, and popular films scripted which portray the Little Rock crisis, or base a different story on it. The Little Rock crisis began with the Supreme Court decision to integrate schools in the case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas in 1954. In this case, the federal government decided that it was not possible to maintain “separate but equal” schools, as schools for colored children were inferior to schools for white children. The decision to desegregate schools was one thing, though, the decision of how to do it was quite another. How could nearly a century of unequal treatment come to an end? The Supreme Court decided that it would end with “all deliberate speed” in a 1955 decision known as Brown II. The decision was simply meant to get integration started, not necessarily to make it immediate. Care still had to be taken in integration, otherwise it could cause more immediate harm than immediate good. In accordance with this decision, the Little Rock School board formulated a plan for school integration.
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The Opinions of Arkansas Citizens Virgil T. Blossom was the man appointed to the task of formulating an integration plan for schools in Little Rock. The superintendent of Little Rock schools, Virgil Blossom was a man mindful of the law. He articulated his feelings on the court’s decisions, saying, “Before going further, I want to make clear my own attitude toward the Supreme Court decision of 1954 requiring school desegregation. I was of the opinion that the decision should have been delayed until a later date. But once the ruling was handed down I firmly believed in respect for and honest compliance with the law of the land. My attitude was much the same as that of a large majority of the citizens of Little Rock. The community generally did not favor the principle of the court's decision. They preferred no integration if that were legally possible and, if not, they hoped to have a legal minimum of integration.” 1 He had not opposed segregation, but he did oppose the detrimental inequality of the schools that black students were educated in. However, since the decision of the court had not been to improve schools, but rather to desegregate them, Blossom agreed to begin the process of school integration. In fact, he had begun planning for the integration of schools almost immediately after the first decision to integrate in 1954. Mr. Blossom’s
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Project - The Little Rock Crisis of September, 1957 Paula...

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