School Integration in Little Rock


15-year-old Elizabeth Eckford was the first black student to attend a white school in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957. Journalist Will Counts took this picture of Eckford’s entrance, with student Hazel Bryan shouting at her. 50 years later, Vanity Fair looks at what happened then, and what became of Eckford and Bryan and their relationship. Link to story. More pictures here. -via Metafilter

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@matt: Hazel is still alive and doing quite well -- one of the kindest, most thoughtful people you'll ever meet, too. She's my father's wife's mother, and I've spent some time with her.

I won't speak to her beliefs currently, as I've never spoken with her directly about the events of this fateful photograph, but I know from both the article and second-hand information that she moved beyond that "moment in time" quite a long time ago. Per the Wikipedia article about her (, she has since apologized to the girl in the photo (Elizabeth Eckford).

Keep in mind that she is only one face among the hundreds who were there at the time -- she just had the dubious distinction of being the one who was caught on camera at the right moment.
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Wow. I read the whole thing, even though it was long. Not my normal internet behavior.

One quote really got me: 'Gangs now roam her [Elizabeth's] neighborhood. Young black toughs "have killed more of our people than the K.K.K. did," she says.'
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Eckford was one of the first. Not the first.
There were nine black students selected to be integrated into Central high and they all started on the same day, September 24th when Eisenhower chose to enforce the Supreme court's decision with Brown v. Board.
The students had planned to enter the school together, but Elizabeth Eckford's family didn't have a phone so she didn't get the message. She attempted to enter the school on her own, only to be turned back by Gov. Faubus's soldiers.
The students didn't even enter the building until September 23rd, three weeks after the beginning of school, when they slipped through a side door (only to be forced out due to the mob outside).
September 24th president Eisenhower sent federal troops in to stop the mob and escort the children safely to their classes.
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