“Learn About” Questions
- What was Little Rock Central High School like in the 1950’s?
- What caused the start of desegregation in Little Rock?
- What prevented desegregation up until the 1950’s?
“Learn From” Questions
- What do I remember about my own experience of high school? Did I see going to school as important?
- What were my classmates like? Did most of them look similar to me or was there more diversity?
- How does diversity of friends, classmates, coworkers, etc. impact my perspective of the world?
Up until sometime during the middle of the summer, I hadn’t paid any attention to the fact that Central was gonna be desegregated the fall of ’57. And one evening my aunt came and she just casually mentioned that my name was one of the ones that was being considered to transfer to Central, you know, and I didn’t pay a lot of attention to it. I mean, it didn’t seem like something that was gonna be earth-changing because the expectations at that point were that this was gonna be relatively quiet, that Little Rock had integrated the busses. I remember the library being desegregated as they say, and that there were a number of the professional schools, the law school, the med school had admitted a few black students. And there were a couple of school districts not as large as Little Rock but in northwest Arkansas, that after the Supreme Court decision was handed down, they quietly went and integrated the school, mainly because they couldn’t, in most of these small little places, they couldn’t afford two school districts and former Senator Bumpers, who was head of the school district in, I think it was Clarendon County, but it was in northwest Arkansas where there’s not a large black population, he always told me that having the Supreme Court decision was a blessing for them because they could then say that they couldn’t afford to maintain two districts, the transportation and all of that, and that integrating the schools allowed them to finally make some rational decision about it. But Little Rock was, I think that year, probably the largest school district that was slated to desegregate.