Little Rock Nine: Overview

About this guide

Pere Marquette Discovery Award.

The Little Rock Nine became an integral part of the fight for equal opportunity in American education when they dared to challenge public school segregation by enrolling at the all-white Central High School in 1957. Their appearance and award are part of the Centennial Celebration of Women at Marquette.

The Little Rock Nine

The Monument to the Little Rock Nine (copied from Creative Commons Images). 

The nine were Thelma Mothershed, Minnijean Brown, Elizabeth Eckford, Gloria Ray, Jefferson Thomas, Melba Beals, Terrence Roberts, Carlotta Walls, and Ernest Green.

These nine students enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957 and were initially prevented from entering the racially segregated school by Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus. They attended only after intervention by President Eisenhower. The crisis in Little Rock is considered to be one of the most important events in the African American Civil Rights Movement.  For brief biographies of the nine, click on the blue "More About" tab.

The Nine created the Little Rock Nine Foundation to promote the ideals of justice and educational equality. The Little Rock Central High School still operates and is now designated a National Historic Site.

Little Rock Central: 50 Years Later

Preview clip for "Little Rock Central: 50 Years Later" (HBO DVD)