“Their courage sparked the desegregation of Little Rock public schools.”
The desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas is one of the most pivotal moments in the civil rights movement in the state and had great impact throughout the country. The legacy of the nine students includes highs and lows in social, political, and economic realms. Led by the then president of the local chapter of the NAACP, Daisy Bates, with the aid and support of many others, the desegregation of Central High
On July 14, 2012, the members of the Little Rock Nine, L.C. and Daisy Bates, and Christopher Mercer Jr. became the second set of honorees memorialized on the Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail during the Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Commemoration.
Bliss Ann Malone Hunter of the 1961 Freedom Riders and 2011 honoree was the guest speaker during the ceremony. Hunter said the Little Rock Nine were an inspiration to her to join the civil rights movement.
2012 Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Honorees
The Little Rock Nine:
Ernest Green, became the first African American to graduate from Central High School
Elizabeth Eckford, photograph taken of her by Will Counts is one of the most infamous and startling images of the civil rights movement.
Jefferson Thomas, became a veteran of the Vietnam War; worked as a civil servant for more than 27 years
Terrence Roberts, became psychologist and counsels organizations and businesses on equitable practices
Carlotta Walls LaNier, youngest member of the Little Rock Nine
Minnijean Brown, became a lifelong civil rights activist
Gloria Ray Karlmark, became a leader in international business
Thelma Mothershed, became a lifelong educator in East St. Louis public schools
Melba Pattillo Beals, became first of the Little Rock Nine to write a book based on her experiences in 1957
The Arkansas state chapter of the NAACP
Daisy Bates, civil rights activist, president of Arkansas state chapter of NAACP
L.C. Bates, civil rights advocate, journalist, and newspaper publisher, husband and business partner of Daisy Bates
Christopher Mercer Jr., attorney and adviser to Daisy Bates, driver of Little Rock Nine, and one of the Six Pioneers
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