Sixty Years: Still Fighting
We invite you to join us in Little Rock from Friday, September 22nd to Sunday, September 24th to honor the Little Rock Nine and their legacies, join a national conversation about the attack on public education, and strategize to create quality education for everyone.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.656.6291
Sixty years ago, Governor Orval Faubus dispatched the Arkansas National Guard to Little Rock Central High School to block the entrance of the following, later known as the Little Rock Nine, African American students: (1) Melba Pattillo Beals, (2) Minniejean Brown, (3) Elizabeth Eckford, (4) Ernest Green, (5) Gloria Ray Karlmark, (6) Carlotta Walls LaNier, (7) Thelma Mothershed, (8) Terrence Roberts, and (9) Jefferson Thomas. President Dwight Eisenhower intervened and sent the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army to escort the students inside Central High School.
As we reflect on progress today, we are sadly reminded that the Little Rock School District currently does not have an elected representative school board. Alternatively, the acting school board is the Commissioner of the Arkansas Department of Education, Johnny Key, who was appointed by Governor Asa Hutchinson. In 1957, Democratic Governor Orval Faubus controlled the Little Rock School District. In 2017, sixty years since the Crisis at Little Rock Central, Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson and Commissioner Johnny Key control the Little Rock School District, the largest school district in the state and majority African American.
We must never be fooled by the word “progress.” Instead we should hold it to the highest standards of accountability, context, perspective, and scrutiny. Moving forward, our aims and goals are clear: to immediately return local control to the people and community of the Little Rock School District; to hold leaders accountable at every turn; to oppose state controlled school districts, school closures, and the expansion of privately owned charter schools that compete for public school dollars; and to create a world-class school district.
Sixty years later, there is still work to be done and we are still fighting.