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Little Rock Nine 65th Anniversary: Community coming together to celebrate history

Thursday kicks off multiple days of commemorative events for the 65th anniversary of the Little Rock Nine's integration of Central High School.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — Thursday kicks off multiple days of events to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the Little Rock Nine's integration into Central High School.

The high school announced commemorative events to celebrate the desegregation of the school by the Little Rock Nine. 

Many events are set to set place around the city. The multiday commemorative events will tackle mental health and wellness, education equity, the criminal justice system, and include a theatrical performance. 

Alongside the number of events also comes programs with members of the Little Rock Nine. 

The school's National Historic Site will provide free in-person events that span from Thursday, Sept. 22 until Saturday, Sept. 24 centered around the theme "Silence is Not an Option" for the 65th anniversary. 

The commemorative events will feature several Little Rock Nine members, including Minnijean Brown-Trickey, Ernest Green, Gloria Ray Karlmark and Dr. Terrence Roberts.

Back on Sept. 4, 1957, a group of ten Black teens traveled to Central High School on the first day of classes at the school, which had been desegregated by a federal judge days before. 

The group of Black teens would be blocked from entering that day by a mob of angry white students and former Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus who prevented them from entering the school by calling in the Arkansas National Guard, which surrounded Central High School. 

Following that incident, one of the 10 students chose to transfer to Horace Mann High School, which was still segregated at the time. 

This transference dropped the group from 10 students to 9, forming the Little Rock Nine, who would later gain entry into the school on Sept. 25, 1957 after President Eisenhower ordered a federal troop escort for the 9 students as they entered the doors for the time ever. 

In the days that followed, the 9 Black students dealt with various hardships including both verbal, emotional, and physical abuse, with 8 of the students making it to the end of the school year. 

From there, history was made after Ernest Green, a member of the Nine, became the first Black student to graduate from Central in May of 1958.  

To learn more on event scheduling and to receive more information on the each of the day's sessions, you can click here. 

    

 

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