Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Arkansas

On our second day on the road, we still had the goal of getting north to get away from the heat. So we basically blew through Arkansas in one day, making it to Memphis for the night.

We did, however, take time to stop at a historical site in the capital city: Little Rock Central High School.

In 1954, the US Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that public education could no longer be segregated by race. The court didn't, however, specify a timeline for desegregation. So many states in the South dragged their feet in making it a reality.

It wasn't until 1957 that the "Little Rock Nine" attempted access to Central High School in Little Rock. After three weeks of facing angry mobs, yelling reporters, and armed soldiers, they were finally successful.

The school itself is still an active school attended by over 2000 students. It just so happened that we visited on the first day of the new school year, so the scene was a little crazy there. Nevertheless, we took our time going through the historical exhibits in the visitor center, visiting the restored Mobil gas station across the street (where the reporters lined up to use the only pay phone in the area to call in their stories), and snapping pictures on the steps of the school.

The entire experience was completely free, so if you are ever passing through Little Rock, I recommend stopping to experience this little slice of history.