Elizabeth Eckord walked to her first day of school at Little Rock High on this day in 1957.
Who is Elizabeth Eckford?
Elizabeth Eckford is one of the "Little Rock Nine," a group of African American students who played a pivotal role in the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas, USA, during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s. When Elizabeth attempted to enter the school, which had been previously an all-white institution, she was met with a hostile crowd of protesters and Arkansas National Guard troops, who were blocking her entry. Despite the challenges, she courageously walked to the school, becoming an iconic symbol of the struggle for desegregation.
What happened to the Little Rock Nine?
Elizabeth Eckford was unaware that the other black students, who were part of the "Little Rock Nine," had been informed that they would be entering the school together with a police escort. She approached the school alone and was met with hostility and denial of entry.
How did the situation change after Elizabeth Eckford's first attempt?
Following the events of that day, there was widespread outrage and national attention. President Dwight D. Eisenhower intervened and federalized the Arkansas National Guard to ensure the students' safety and enforce the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which ruled that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. Despite the initial challenges, the Little Rock Nine eventually entered the school with federal protection, and the desegregation process continued.
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