World war ii through the faubus era increasingly

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World War II through the Faubus EraIncreasingly assertive presidential action and a U.S. Supreme Court shaped by Roosevelt’s appointments and sharing the New Deal’s socially progressive outlook, together with national calls for greater freedom and equality, led African Americans in Arkansas to fight for civil rights with enhanced expectations of change. In 1942, the Arkansas State Press won the appointment of the first black police officers in Little Rock following an outcry after a white city policeman shot and killed a black army sergeant. The same year, black teacher Sue Cowan Williams (then known by the last name Morris), with the assistance of theNAACP, sued for equal teachers’ salaries with whites. She won the case on appeal in 1945. In 1944, the Texas case of Smith v. Allwright ruled an end to the all-white Democratic Party primaries. The Little Rock NAACP branch successfully sued for the rights of African Americans to stand as Democratic Party candidates in 1950. That year, the Democratic Party dropped all barriers to black membership and participation. African Americans also benefited from wartime employment gains in defense industries through the Fair Employment Act of 1941. Many black soldiers served in a segregated U.S. military both at home and abroad, which in many cases allowed them to experience life outside of the state beyond the bounds of Jim Crow. The U.S. military was desegregated in 1948 by President Harry S. Truman’s Executive Order 9981. Also in 1948, under pressure from local black activists and national court rulings, the University of Arkansas School of Law admitted Silas Hunt, its first black student since Reconstruction. Edith Irby became the first black student to enroll at the School of Medicine of the University of Arkansas(now the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences) in Little Rock later that year.The civil rights struggle intensified after the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas (1954) school desegregation ruling. Fayetteville (Washington County) and Charleston (Franklin County) in northwest Arkansas were the first districts in the South to desegregate. Similar attempts in Sheridan (Grant County), closer to the Arkansas Delta, were quickly reversed. In 1955, Hoxie
(Lawrence County), a small town in northeast Arkansas, encountered difficulties when it desegregated schools. The school board won a landmark court ruling to keep schools integrated.Events came to a head in Little Rock in September 1957 when Governor Orval Faubus’s decision to call out the Arkansas National Guard prevented the entry of the Little Rock Nine into Central High School. The Little Rock crisis ended with President Dwight D. Eisenhower federalizing the National Guard and sending in federal troops to escort and protect the nine students, who were mentored locally by state NAACP president Daisy Bates and her husband, L. C. Bates. The following year, Faubus closed all of the city’s schools, and white voters mandated his actions in a referendum. Only when moderate candidates won places on the school board did Little Rock schools reopen on a token integrated basis in 1959.

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