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This Happened

This Happened — September 4: Little Rock Nine

Elizabeth Eckord walked to her first day of school at Little Rock High on this day in 1957.

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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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Should We Trust Gaza's Official Death Toll Numbers? — Mideast War, Day 17

Also: Iran Threatens Missile Attack on Haifa; U.S. Asks Israel to Delay Ground War; Aid Trickles In

Photo of a funeral for Palestinians killed

People attend the funeral prayer for the Palestinian Abu Dan family

As it’s done regularly for the past two weeks, the Gaza health ministry has again updated the total Palestinian death toll. By Monday afternoon local time, the ministry reported 5,087 Palestinians have been killed across Gaza since the current Israeli-Hamas conflict began two weeks ago.

The health ministry put the death toll in the past 24 hours at 436, including 182 children, as Israel stepped up air attacks across the Palestinian enclave. It said most of the fatalities had occurred in southern Gaza, to where Israel’s military last week ordered Palestinians to evacuate. Most deaths are blamed on Israeli air strikes, and nearly half of the 5,000+ victims are reported to be children.

Yet, even as all acknowledge the civilian toll is climbing, a new doubt has begun to spread in recent days about the reliability of the death counts given by Gaza’s government, which is run by Hamas.

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In recent years, the Israeli and international press, as well as the United Nations, have tended to trust the casualties figures given by the Palestinian authorities, even with Hamas in charge. But since the latest conflict began on October 7, there have been no independent sources verifying these numbers in Gaza.

The questions have multiplied since the controversy surrounding the explosion on the Al-Ahli Arabi hospital in Gaza City. Not only has debate raged about who was responsible for the explosion, but many critics of Hamas have also dismissed the total of more than 500 deaths announced just minutes after the explosion as wildly exaggerated.

An article published in French daily’s Libération, underlines the historical reliance on the Palestinian Ministry of Health's figures, even though Hamas now controls all information.

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