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

    There ya go joey theres another counmry that you can move to along with CASTRO and the regime that you idolize therh

    September 4, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. banasy©

    @gung hoe:
    That wasn't JIF on the Castro thread.
    That was George Patton stealing JIF's name.

    September 4, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Yeah, gung hoe, so you think you heard me to say that I idolize Castro? His regime?
    Or China? (China by Mao.)
    I am big-time capitalist oppressor pig.
    I don't even like pink in 1950s retro.

    September 4, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Thanks, banasy.
    Obviously I missed something–a Castro thread?
    All day I had to work while everybody else had BBQ outing.
    You wait. You see. One day I be very rich capitalist oppressor pig billionaire, if I work every day and invest in Carlyle Group, not just sofa bed.
    You be sorry, make fun of JIF.
    JIF work hard every day.
    Too hard. No BBQ.

    September 4, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Philip

    The min. investment that the The Carlyle Group considers is 100 million dollars. Just invest in the Caterpillar corp. and McDonalds. As long as there is an Israel and an obesity epidemic, you'll bank.

    September 4, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. banasy©


    You know my heart is bleeding green jelly beans while the world's smallest violin is playing in the background for you, right?

    September 4, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    @ banasy, @ Philip:
    Yeah, yeah.
    I was once traveling with an Italian opera star and teaching her to write checks for banks here.
    We got up to one million dollars, and I said, "don't worry–you won't be writing too many checks for a million dollars."
    "Don't be so sure," she said, and I realized immediately that she was terrifyingly right.
    Don't sell me short yet. If I aspire to the Carlyle Group, at least I'll always be able to buy a BigMac.

    September 4, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Philip the time you become a 100 millionaire, The Group's min. imvestment will be a billion dollars. You, me, and virtually everyone else in America will always be excluded from seeing any of the profits that the Group would have never been able to make if not for our tax dollars subsidizing their program since 1987.

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

    Goto for the goods on The Group. Any savvy investor investigates before investing, Joey.

    September 4, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Philip

    At you will also find-out many things about many powerful men...even men, like George W. Bush, who was President of The United States of America at the time these things were written about him. As you know, it is a felony violation of federal law to publish lies about the President while he is in office. George W. Bush tried to have this website torn-down, but the attorney general could find no lies that were punlished about him while he was in office. In other words, what you read about him there is the truth.

    September 4, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  11. fernace

    I'm not sure what section 8,slingin' drugs or living off the government has to do with this thread, but I do know it's important to not let "sleeping dogs lie"! It's important to know our history so that we don't repeat the same mistakes! That's the same reason we revisit the holocaust! These types of atrocities can easily happen again in the hands of self serving, bigoted people, if the world isn't reminded now & then how wrong it was then & how we can never go so wrong again! It is worth mentioning that the Republican & Democratic parties seem to have had a polar shift, as my history professor explains it, just as earthpoles do! Back then the Dems were conservatives of old southern standards & the Repubs were the liberal northerners! What a difference a few decades make!!

    September 4, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. fernace

    Rodney King actually said: Can't we all just get along!? It was right after the cops who beat him up, got off & during the LA riots! I was there, watched LA burn & heard Kings word on the news! Never forget it!!

    September 4, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jazzzzzzzz

    please respond
    Your trolls are on the other thread

    September 5, 2011 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
  14. Philip

    @furnace...good evening. I doubt that we have learned from the history of War, for we keep cheering them on. As for the holocaust, it is horrid and disgusting how the Catholic German people treated those who were of the Jewish faith, even when Hitler used this already exisiting condition as an excuse to steal all of the Jew's money to help finance the war effort. Some 6 million were murdered...but how many more millions were rayped, robbed, and pilliaged...all without the German people being fully aware? And I know that only about 25 million Russians were slaughtered, but it at least bears honourable mention from time-to-time, does it not?

    September 5, 2011 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jazzzzzzzz

    Omg, I *was* right
    Watch out Philip
    It's not me you have to be careful of
    And I'm not saying who this is, you gonna have to find out for yourself

    September 5, 2011 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
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