Sixty years ago, on September 25, 1957, The United States Army deployed 300 troops to guard nine black children who attempted to enter the racially segregated Little Rock Central High School.
The road to desegregation of America’s school system was often paved in blood, as communities grappled with laws that mandated African-Americans be allowed to attend formerly “white-only” schools.
The students and troops were met by an unruly crowd who tried to physically block them from entering the school.
These photos depict the dramatic confrontation between the crowd and the students.
The “Little Rock Nine” were a group of nine black students who attempted to enter the racially segregated Little Rock Central High School in 1957.
- US Army
President Dwight. D. Eisenhower deployed 300 federal troops to safely escort the students into the high school.
Members of the Little Rock, Arkansas community protested and tried to physically block the students from entering the school.
Here, Paul Davis Taylor displays a Confederate flag in front of Little Rock Central High School.
The army directed the crowd of protesters with their bayonets drawn. They drew giggles from this group of women walking.
But the overall tone of the protest was much darker. Here, an unidentified while male punches an effigy of a black student.
An angry crowd shoved an African-American reporter from the Tri-State Defender, Alex Wilson.
A man identified as C.E. Blake was clubbed by troopers after he tried to take a weapon.
The student’s fight to attend Little Rock Central High School was groundbreaking. Pictured here in 1958, 17-year-old Ernest Green was the first African-American in the history of the school to graduate.
The Little Rock Nine in 2005 gathered for the unveiling of a monument marking their battle.