On September 25,1957, integration in schools begins in Little Rock, Arkansas, when nine black students are escorted into the halls of previously all-white Central High.
The event was preceded by weeks of difficulty with segregationist governor Orval Faubus. Faubus had ordered National Guard troops to surround the school to prevent the students from entering. His stated reasoning was to “prevent disorder and bloodshed” from citizens who opposed integration. When the Guard was withdrawn at the order of Federal Judge Ronald Davies, the students were escorted through an angry mob by armed guards.
The whole process was pretty rough and wouldn’t get much easier over the next few years. Though some of the white students welcomed their new classmates, many were not so friendly. In 1958 Faubus closed Little Rock’s schools to further prevent integration; this decision was overturned after a tense, year-long fight, and the schools were reopened in 1959.