Melba Pattillo, Carlotta Walls, Elizabeth Eckford, Ernest Green, Gloria Ray, Jefferson Thomas, Minnijean Brown, Terrence Roberts, Thelma Mothershed
On September 23, 1957 in Little Rock, Arkansas, these nine African-American students quietly slipped into Central High School through the side door with the assistance of the city’s police, while an angry white mob numbering 1,000 swarmed the front of the school to await their arrival. Upon learning of their entry, the crowd became unruly, confronting and overwhelming the city police. During the riot, two African-American journalists were physically harassed and attacked and then chased out of the area. School windows and doors were broken and the nine African-American students were escorted out of the school by police. Fearful of what may happen, the school administration had the black students escorted out a side door. Central High School’s integration efforts that day—which started in 1955 with the school board voting to gradually integrate—came to a quick close, all before lunch.
On September 25, 1957, under escort by the soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division, the nine black students were escorted back into Central High. The brave efforts of the students, later known as the "Little Rock Nine," to gain equal access to education in the United States, established September 25th as an important date in the Nation and in the Civil Rights Movement.