In September of 1957, after President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared that segregated schools were unconstitutional, nine African American students attempted to go to school at an all white high school, Little Rock Central High School. These student were faced with tremendous difficulty to even enter the school. Arkansas’ governor, Orval Faubus, decided that he was not going to let these students in, despite Eisenhower’s orders, and called in state troops to stop the students at the door. Eisenhower then called in federal troops in order to force the school to let the African American students in.
Today I want to discuss a unique piece of history located at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, one in a series of information cards telling about major historical events.
This is a collecting card made in 1996 giving details about President Eisenhower sending federal troops to Little Rock Central High School to help integrate the school. On the front of this card there is a picture of federal troops outside of Little Rock and on the back is a description of how Eisenhower sent federal troops to Little Rock. I know that these information cards were made by a company called Grolier Incorporated and was donated to the museum by a man named Elmer J. Whiting III.
The main function of this collecting card was simply to inform readers about this major event of integrating Little Rock Central High School. I would assume people around the United States would have used this card to keep as a piece of history.
This card merely reminds us that the integration of schools, and really the integration of everything, was very difficult and unfair for African Americans. This card depicts that by explaining the events of Little Rock, from the schools calling in state troops to keep black students out, to white students yelling at them and trying to force them out to President Eisenhower having to bring in national troops to prevent anyone from not letting these students in. This card is significant because the integration of Little Rock is a major part of history and was a turning point for integrating schools all over the country.
“Eisenhower Sends Troops to Little Rock.” National Museum of African American History and Culture, National Museum of African American History and Culture, 2011.”
“National Museum of American History Adds Little Rock Nine Objects.” PR Newswire, Apr. 2016, pp. PR Newswire, Feb 4, 2016.
Wallace, David. “Orval Faubus: The Central Figure at Little Rock Central High School.” The Arkansas Historical Quarterly, vol. 39, no. 4, 1980, pp. 314–329. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/40024134.