Tag Archives: Jermaine McCalpin

Discovering Mrs. Daisy Bates

U.S. Embassy, Kingston Documentary Screening Serves Much Food for Thought

Owing to her relentless efforts to desegregate the all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957 the United States of America was set on fire.

Eventually an Executive Order was issued by the President of the United States Dwight Eisenhower deploying 10,000 American soldiers to the small town of Little Rock, to uphold the rights of 9 vastly outnumbered and defenceless African-American students.

06 Sep 1957, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA --- Elizabeth Eckford ignores the hostile screams and stares of fellow students on her first day of school.  She was one of the nine negro students whose integration into Little Rock's Central High School was ordered by a Federal Court following legal action by NAACP. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS
06 Sep 1957, Little Rock, Arkansas, USA — Elizabeth Eckford, one of the Little Rock 9 walks away from an angry crowd that had gathered to prevent the entry of the 9 students from entering the all-white Central High School after a lawsuit brought by the Bates-headed Arkansas NAACP resulted in a Court Order that the school be desegregated | Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

The story is one of a mythical magnitude. The images of the black students, first being turned away by the Arkansas National Guard amidst the vitriolic jeering of rabid racists are harrowing. The images of the Little Rock 9 – the name by which the group will forever be remembered – being escorted by 10,000 soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division in full army fatigue still speak volumes.

How is it even possible therefore, that in the retelling of the American Civil Rights struggle and in the popular celebrations of its major contributors, so very little is said or known – if anything at all – about the central force behind the comprehensive protest effort that etched the Little Rock 9 forever in the cannons of world history and paved the way for countless blacks in the United States to attend desegregated schools today? Continue reading Discovering Mrs. Daisy Bates