Gotta Watch: Story behind Little Rock 9
September 4th, 2011
01:20 PM ET

Gotta Watch: Story behind Little Rock 9

In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court declared all laws establishing segrated schools unconstitutional. That meant African-American students could legally attend all-white schools. By 1957, the NAACP registered a group of nine black students to attend Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas.  The school board agreed to comply with the 1954 ruling and approved a plan for gradual integration that would start that school year. 

On September 4, that group of students, later nicknamed the "Little Rock 9," attempted to enter Central High on the first day of school, but a crowd of angry students and hundreds of National Guardsmen blocked them from entering. The incident grabbed national attention - and the attention of President Eisenhower. As a result, the nine students attended the school under federal protection, opening the door for black students across the country. In today's Gotta Watch, we're featuring highlights from that historic day and reaction from the Little Rock 9 as they look back on their experiences three decades later.

A day that changed history – Take a look at this historical footage from the very day the so-called Little Rock 9 were blocked from entering their school.

'It had to be done' - Thirty years after being blocked from entering Little Rock Central High School, Gloria Ray Karlmark speaks to a reporter ahead of her first visit to the school since that infamous day.

A step towards equality – The Little Rock 9 were welcomed back to Little Rock Central High 30 years later.

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Filed under: Arkansas • Civil Rights • Courts • Education • Gotta Watch • Hate crime • History • Human rights • Justice • U.S.
soundoff (119 Responses)
  1. Trolls

    They bring-out the gossip monger in ya. Do they not?

    September 5, 2011 at 1:06 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Jazzzzzzzz

    Not gossiping
    where was that ?
    Good night, Sorry again

    September 5, 2011 at 1:10 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Jazzzzzzzz

    I was looking out for you, if that is gossiping then, yes I was

    September 5, 2011 at 8:04 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Irishnd1982

    Hey philip im pretty sure if u really did get straight A's then u would know the abbreviation for Arkansas is AR not AK. Thats Sarah Palins Alaska

    September 5, 2011 at 8:43 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Phiilip

    @1982...thanks for pointing out that typo. Was that all you could find in my posts? I mean like, was there anything else in my post's that 'stuck out' in your eyes besides a simple mistake? (and i'm an old man who usually posts here using this tiny little LG cellphone. At home on my pc, I can post my reply on Word and check it for grammar and spelling before I post it here. (shrug)

    September 5, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. skippy

    @ Irishnd1982

    ahhh, and what kinda grades did you get ?

    September 5, 2011 at 11:31 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Cesar

    Skippy? Never heard of the pri ck.

    September 5, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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