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. gung hoe

    For that matter if anyone deserves reparations its the american indian

    September 4, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • RUFFNUTT© ( elf slayer & 15th lvl warrior )

      agreed... they got it worse than anyone ever...

      September 4, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. gung hoe

    I like cocoa.

    September 4, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. KH

    How is your crazy theory relevant to this story, Philip?
    The article is about the Little Rock Nine, and you think Bill Clinton is being set up to be....what? King of the world? Really?

    September 4, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Scottish Mama

    I like cocoa

    September 4, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  5. RUFFNUTT© ( elf slayer & 15th lvl warrior )

    cocoa with or without marshmellows?

    September 4, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Philip

    I am only presenting the facts KH. Don't bite the messenger.

    September 4, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. banasy©

    I am sorry for your loss, Ruffie©.
    The criminal element known no specific color.

    On a lighter note,
    Coco's back!

    September 4, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. RUFFNUTT© ( elf slayer & 15th lvl warrior )

    i like that song by stevie wonder... ebony and ivory...

    September 4, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Philip

    Cocoa died.

    September 4, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. KH

    Not the messenger, certainly, but the bizarre message.

    September 4, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Philip

    Bill Clinton went to work for the Bush-Zapata oil corporation when he was done using the good people of AK to make him and his skinny wife filthy rich, the outfit backed by the CIA and your tax-dollars to develop Kuwait's oilfields. Clinton was the man who brokered the deal whereby J-pan would purchase their oil from Kuwait, rather than from their own OPEC contract supplier at that time, Iraq. Of course this was illegal, so the Iraqi people complained to the UN FOR OVER TWO YEARS BEFORE DEMANDING THAT THEIR LEADER, Saddam Hussein, do something. And we all know what happened when he did finally do that something, do we not...? 🙂

    September 4, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. banasy©


    What do you mean, Cocoa died?

    September 4, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Philip

    We are gathered here to say good-bye to cocoa the troll. He lived a short life but touched many of us. He was a happy troll. He never was mean or stepped on anyone's toes. May he rest in peace. We shall all miss him/her Amen.

    September 4, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. zombie cocoa

    brains..... brains... must eat braiinnnss,,,,,

    September 4, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Philip

    banasy please don't be in denial. It's time to let go. Life goes on.

    September 4, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
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