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. RUFFNUTT © ( human rights activist and elf slayer)

    stand back behind me... "elf thummper 2" can save us...

    September 4, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. banasy©


    You forgot Paul McCartney.
    He wrote it.

    As far as trolls go, Coco was harmless.
    With a fierce hankering for chocolate.
    And a lifelong wish for more marshmallows, or a non-melting variety.

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

    Denial is a river in Egypt, isn't it?

    September 4, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. RUFFNUTT © ( human rights activist and elf slayer)

    anyone ever notice that obama looks alot like that black vulcan guy from voyager...

    September 4, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. banasy©

    I TOLD you Coco was back!!!
    (Getting behind Ruffie©)

    September 4, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. banasy©

    @zombie cocoa:
    With marshmallows?

    September 4, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  7. zombie cocoa

    brains... braiins... brainsss......

    September 4, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mammie Lipschitz

    America is so ate up with racial tension.

    September 4, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Philip

    At least my posts have something to do with Arkansas, (mentioned in the official topic) which is more than I can say for the others lately.

    September 4, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • arkasas zombie cocoa

      sister brains... sister brains...

      September 4, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Philip

    My dear banasy,he is dead and buried. This is what is written on his tombstone (Coco the Troll September 3 2011-September 4,2011. RIP). I know you liked the little troll banasy, but he's gone.

    September 4, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mammie Lipschitz

    Phillip is such a dick.

    September 4, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. banasy©

    Double *Facepalm*™

    September 4, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Phillip

    Braaaaaains...I want braaaaaains mmmm hungry..braaaaaains.

    September 4, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Philip

    'Philip' is NOT the topic either. (shrug) @saywhat...hope you came here for the answer to my "tricky question", answered above. And pls. ignore the trolly Philip, who always tries to disrupt these things that are more important to me than she is. ty

    September 4, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. banasy©

    Oooh, Round One is ovah!
    See ya guys....going to BBQ at my M-I-L's.
    Have a fab day!

    September 4, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
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