Walk the same streets and climb the same stairs the Little Rock Nine traveled in fall of 1957. These nine African-American students hoped to attend Arkansas' formerly all-white Little Rock Central Read more...
Walk the same streets and climb the same stairs the Little Rock Nine traveled in fall of 1957. These nine African-American students hoped to attend Arkansas' formerly all-white Little Rock Central High School. They would be among the first black students to attend a previously segregated school. The United States was just beginning to deal with the impact of the 1954 Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education.
However, in a direct challenge to the federal desegregation law, Gov. Orval Faubus called in the state National Guard to block the nine students' way. When the Little Rock Nine arrived on campus, more than 1,000 angry white protesters greeted them. President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent in federal troops for backup. On September 25, 1957, the troops escorted the Little Rock Nine to class.
The nine brave and persistent students became symbols of courage and optimism. And today, Little Rock Central High School is an active school with an enrollment of over 2,500 students. But you can enter the school and retrace the Nine's steps on a powerful and informative Ranger-led walking tour.
Start at the Visitors Center and museum across the street from the high school. Many interpretive exhibits and interactive displays document the history of desegregation in America. There are two 20-minute films to enjoy. One from the 1960s presents the Little Rock Nine's reflections on their experiences as high school students.
Guided tours are by reservation only, so book early. Your tour route will be dependent on school activities that day. But the typical path takes you up two flights of stairs into the high school auditorium and down two flights into the cafeteria. Definitely a must-do!
Stay a little longer — view all nearby options for camping on both public campgrounds and private land on Hipcamp.