Little Rock Nine: More About The Nine

The Little Rock Nine

Photo of the Little Rock NineRecent activities of the nine are described on their Central High School class of '57 40th reunion pages, from which the following highlights are adapted.  Additional information can be found at The Little Rock Nine Foundation.  The Little Rock Nine are:

Elizabeth Eckford, widely known (photo) as the 15-year old who walked into Central High among jeering whites, still lives in Little Rock. She worked as a journalist during her career in the U.S. Army, returning home in 1974. She has also worked as a probation officer, history teacher, unemployment interviewer, and social worker. Elizabeth Eckford looks back (NPR "Day To Day" story, September 4, 2007).

Ernest Green was the first black student to graduate from Central High School (1958). He graduated from Michigan State University with a B.S. in social science and a M.S. in sociology. He served in Jimmy Carter's administration as Assistant Secretary of Labor and was appointed by President Clinton as chairman of the African Development Foundation. He currently is a managing partner and vice president of Lehman Brothers in Washington, D.C.

Gloria Ray Karlmark graduated from Illinois Institute of Technology in 1965 with a B.S. in chemistry and mathematics and received a post-graduate degree in Stockholm, Sweden. She was a computer science writer, an executive with a Dutch company, and publisher of a European computer magazine. Now retired, she divides her time between homes in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Stockholm, where her husband's family lives.

Terrence Roberts completed high school in Los Angeles, where he moved with his family following the historic year in Little Rock. He earned a Ph.D. in psychology from Southern Illinois University and taught at Antioch University Los Angeles before his 2008 retirement. 

Carlotta Walls Lanier was one of only three of the nine who eventually graduated from Central (1959). She graduated from Michigan State University and presently lives in Englewood, Colorado, where she is ia real estate broker.

Melba Pattillo Beals is an author and former journalist for People magazine and NBC and lives in San Francisco. She finished high school in Santa Rose, California, attended San Francisco State University, and later earned a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University, and a doctorate in Education at the University of San Francisco. She now teaches journalism and is chair of the communication department at Dominican University of California.  She is author of Warriors Don't Cry (1994) and the follow-up White is a State of Mind (1999)

Jefferson Thomas graduated from Central High in 1960, following a year in which Little Rock's public high schools were ordered closed by the legislature to prevent desegregation. He worked as an accountant with the U.S. Department of Defense and lived in Anaheim, California. Thomas passed away in September 2010.

Minnijean Brown-Trickey was expelled from Central High in February, 1958, after several incidents, including her dumping a bowl of chili on a white student in the school cafeteria. She studied social work at Laurentian University in Ontario, where she moved with her husband during the Vietnam War protests of the 1960s. She has continued to be an activist for minority rights and served in the Clinton administration as deputy assistant secretary for workforce diversity in the Department of the Interior. worked as a social worker. Brown-Trickey now lives in Little Rock. 

Thelma Mothershed-Wair took correspondence courses following the events of 1957 because the high schools were closed during the next year; she later received her diploma by mail. She received a Master's in Guidance and Counseling from Southern Illinois University and retired in 1994 from the East St. Louis Schools, where she was an educator for 28 years.  She returned to live in the Little Rock area in 2003.

Awards & Honors


Little Rock Nine with President Bill Clinton after receiving their awards

The Little Rock Nine were awarded one of the nation's most prestigious awards,
The Congressional Gold Medal, in 1999.

Books by the Nine