The Little Rock Nine

On September 25th of 1957, under the watchful eye of the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division, nine black teenagers nervously entered the previously all-white Little Rock High School to become students. A similar but unguarded attempt weeks earlier had been alarmingly unsuccessful, and even this subsequent military intervention - ordered by President Eisenhower no less - did little to prevent the unrelenting abuse unleashed on the Little Rock Nine over the next year.

Central to the area's desegregation - and therefore a major figure in the early stages of the entire civil rights movement - was Daisy Bates: publisher of the local black newspaper and President of the Arkansas branch of the NAACP. Below is a letter she wrote in December of that year to NAACP's executive director, Roy Wilkins, in which she updates him on the students' progress.

Letters of Note: The Little Rock Nine