Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site

Audio Available:

OVERVIEW: About this Audio-Described Brochure

Welcome to the audio-described version of Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site's official print brochure. Through text and audio descriptions of photos, illustrations and maps, this version interprets the two-sided color brochure that Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site visitors receive. 

The brochure explores the history of the park, some of its highlights, and information for planning your visit. This audio version lasts about 61 minutes and 27 seconds which we have divided into 20 sections as a way to improve the listening experience. 

Sections 1 through 8 cover the front of the brochure and include information regarding the history of Little Rock Central High School's struggle with desegregation. Timelines chronicle key events that happened from 1957 to 1959 in Little Rock along with major milestones in United States school desegregation. 

Sections 9 through 20 cover the back of the brochure which consists of photographs of the Little Rock Nine students, propaganda posters against desegregation, and the organizations who supported or opposed. Other highlights include information about the visitor center location and accessibility.

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OVERVIEW: Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site

Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, located in Arkansas, is part of the National Park Service, within the Department of the Interior. The 28-acre park is located two miles south of downtown Little Rock, the capital city of Arkansas. This park, established in 1998, interprets the heroic story of the Little Rock Nine, the struggle in Little Rock to maintain segregation, and the surging tide of the civil rights movement. 

Each year, over 150,000 visitors come to enjoy the unique experiences that can only be had at Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site. Plan ahead and reserve an available guided tour. View the exhibits at the park's Visitor Center, learn about the Little Rock Nine, watch the interpretive film, and explore the other historic buildings and outdoor activities within the site. Earn your Junior Ranger badge by completing activities and stamp your passport book in our visitor center to capture memories from your visit to Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site. 

For those seeking to learn more about the park during their visit, informative audio guides and maps of the region also can be found at the visitor center. To find out more about what resources might be available or to contact the park directly, visit the "Accessibility" and "More Information" sections at the end of this audio-described brochure.

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OVERVIEW: Front Side of Brochure

The front side of the brochure includes text, quotes, several historic photographs from the Central High School crisis, and photographs of relevant artifacts. Most photos are black and white unless indicated as a color photo.

The text and photographs with descriptions are presented under their own sections. The text narrates the history of the struggle with desegregation at Little Rock Central High School. Two timelines chronicle key events that happened from 1957 to 1959 in Little Rock as well as major milestones in United States school desegregation. 

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IMAGES and TEXT: Year of Reckoning

This section has 4 images and introductory text. 

IMAGE 1 of 4: 

Students walking down stairs.

DESCRIBING: 

A small, black-and-white photograph.

SYNOPSIS: 

A group of African American young men and women exit a building while accompanied by white male soldiers.  

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: 

Six of the Little Rock Nine students walk down the stairs in a staggered column formation while exiting the front of Central High School. The students carry their school books and are flanked by unarmed members of the military beside and behind them who wear army helmets with chin straps, solid-colored fatigues and combat boots. 

Five young women are visible in the photograph. The woman at the front of the photograph looks down the stairs, holds her books in front of her and wears a dark sweater. Behind her, two women wear white blouses with long patterned skirts, clutch their books with both arms in front of them, and look to their left. The woman at the left of the photograph holds a purse. The two women directly behind are somewhat obscured from view. A young man at the top right of the photograph stands on the stairs. He wears a white cap, a striped long-sleeve shirt and light-colored pants. He clutches his books with his left arm against his left hip.


CAPTION: 

Soldiers and guardsmen escorted the Little Rock Nine for the entire school year.

CREDIT: 

TOMANIO / UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS LITTLE ROCK ARCHIVES.


IMAGE 2 of 4:

 Front of high school

DESCRIBING: 

A horizontally oriented and landscape perspective panoramic color photograph.  

SYNOPSIS: 

Built in Art Deco and Gothic Revival styles, Little Rock Central High School has five visible stories (or floors) with an exterior composed of concrete and brick in tan and brown colors. 

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: 

The main landing of the school on the second story is flanked above by curved arched windows, dark steel lantern light fixtures, and four statues that rise above the main entrance's three sets of wooden double doors. Below either side of the main entrance are ramped staircases that lead up to the center main landing of the school in the photograph. Above the three main sets of entrance doors, the building narrows and rises into a tower with three sets of arched windows and decorative fixtures just below the parapet. 

Groups of windows arranged on each story or floor are framed in horizontal rows of three or four panels. Below the staircase leading to the main entrance, the words “Little Rock Central High School” are spelled out in metallic capital letters and affixed to the brick just above a colored tile mosaic tiger inset behind five sets of curved archways. A staircase in front of the tiger and the archways leads down to an oval reflecting pool of water.

CAPTION: 

Students still attend Central High School, which is closed to park visitors except for organized tour groups. 

CREDIT: 

GETTY IMAGES / TIME AND LIFE PICTURES COLLECTION.


IMAGE 3 of 4: 

LIFE® Magazine cover.

DESCRIBING: 

A vertical, small color photograph.

SYNOPSIS: 

LIFE® Magazine cover shows a photo of Central High School, students, and the military. 

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: 

At the top left of the cover is a horizontal thick black border that contains the word LIFE in a red box. Centered in the remaining space, the stacked title reads, "Beginning, a stunning “LIFE” series, Man’s new world, Part 1: Technical triumphs to shape daily lives". 

At the bottom of the cover image is a horizontal thin red border. On the right side of this border, white lettering reads: "October 7, 1957," "25 cents." 

Below the black border at the top is a crowd of high school students on the main landing outside Central High School. Students either stand outside the front entrance doors or sit on a knee-high wall that extends down two stories to the ground. The wall is made of tan brick and is capped with cream-colored smooth cement. Below the cement cap near the top, metallic engraved letters on the wall read “Little Rock Central”. Visible below the engraved text are four archways inset in the wall which are approximately two-thirds the height of the wall. 

Below the wall and in front of the archways are three rows of soldiers who stand in formation. The soldiers wear dark green uniforms with dark green helmets and stand with their legs apart. Their left arms are bent at a 90-degree angle with their left hands behind their back. Their right arms are held down toward their sides while holding the top of the gun barrel with the butt of the gun on the ground. 

Centered on the far left side of the cover image is the stacked title, “US Troops”, ” Take Over," “In Arkansas”.

CAPTION: 

LIFE® Magazine cover.

CREDIT:

LIFE® Magazine.


IMAGE 4 of 4: 

Group of people walking.

DESCRIBING: 

A rectangular, large black-and-white photograph.

SYNOPSIS: 

A thin African American young woman is on the right side of the photo as a crowd of white people follow her.  


IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: 

The African American young woman walks forward and to her left while slightly facing the front of the photograph. She wears large round frame sunglasses, a white collared short-sleeved blouse, and a light-colored full skirt. Her schoolbooks are cradled in her left arm and hand. Her head is tilted slightly downward at the ground in front of her as she walks. Her forehead shows vertical furrowed lines between her eyebrows as if in serious thought. Her lips are set in a straight line which reveals neither a smile nor a frown. She has short black curly hair.

She is the only person of color in the image and is closely followed by a crowd of white men and women. No one in this crowd is smiling. A white young woman close behind appears to yell. Her mouth is open and her lips are curled outward, allowing her teeth to be seen. Some in the crowd wear visible frowns on their faces. Over their heads, a few houses and trees with leaves can be seen in the background.

CAPTION: 

Elizabeth Eckford walked a two-block-long gauntlet of threats and racial slurs. 

CREDIT: 

WILL COUNTS, COURTESY OF VIVIAN COUNTS and INDIANA UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES.


RELATED TEXT: 

(Text in Red and large print.) The school desegregation crisis at Little Rock Central High School put on trial America’s commitment to its founding principles. It was the first significant test of the 1954 Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” The successful outcome affirmed the basis of that ruling—the 14th Amendment’s promise of “equal protection of the laws.”

(Text in Black and small print.) What became a defining moment in the South’s “massive resistance” to school desegregation began quietly enough with a plan by Little Rock’s school board to gradually integrate the city’s schools. But Orval Faubus, the populist governor of Arkansas with a reputation for relative moderation on racial issues, undercut local officials. Race was playing an increasing role in Arkansas politics, and Faubus was looking ahead to running for reelection in 1958. His actions turned ordered desegregation into violent confrontation.

Crying “states’ rights” and floating rumors about planned violence, Faubus justified calling out the National Guard to keep order—by blocking the entry of nine African American students. Faubus also cited concern for their safety, but before the eyes of guardsmen, mobs followed, spat on, and threatened violence to the students. Later, after a court had ordered the National Guard withdrawn, and with only police to control the situation, an angry crowd beat both black and white journalists. 

In the weeks before the students gained entry under the protection of US Army troops, the governor’s defiance and legal maneuvering stoked a constitutional crisis. A growing media presence made this an ongoing news event played out on the country’s TV screens. But while Little Rock became the face of the nation’s desegregation troubles of the 1950s and 60s, the struggle for equal rights enacted there transcended region, race, and historical period. The struggle continues, and the commitment and courage shown by the Little Rock students is still needed if history is not to be repeated.

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QUOTE: Constitutional Struggle

This section has side by side pictures of two men, text descriptions for both, and a quote.

Quote reads: 

“The only assurance I can give you is that the Federal Constitution will be upheld by me by every legal means at my command.”      

    —President Dwight Eisenhower, in telegram to Governor Faubus 

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IMAGE and TEXT: Governor Faubus

DESCRIBING: 

Small black and white vertical photograph.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: 

A front view of a middle-age white man with a receding hairline parted on the side. He wears a dark suit, a white shirt, a dark tie, and a white handerkerchief visible in his chest pocket. His chin is lifted and he smiles smugly. He sits at a table with microphones facing him and leans on a stack of papers under his right elbow. A plaque on the desk in front of him is partially visible. It reads "GOV., Orval, AR."

CAPTION: 

Governor Faubus.

CREDIT: 

ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE.


RELATED TEXT: 

Spurred by other southern politicians and his own constituents to take a stand against desegregation, Faubus insisted that in Brown v. Board the Supreme Court had overstepped its constitutional authority. He invoked what he called constitutionally guaranteed states’ rights to back his use of the National Guard to bar African American students from Central High. By so doing he directly challenged the federal government.

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IMAGE and TEXT: President Eisenhower

DESCRIBING: 

A small black and white vertical photo.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: 

A right profile view of an older white man with gray receding hairline combed over his head.  His mouth is open as if speaking. He wears a dark suit, a button-down white shirt, and a dark patterned tie.  His left elbow sits on the desk while his right elbow rests on the arm of a chair. He holds his left hand over his right. His right hand grasps the cuff of his left sleeve. A photograph sits on a piece of furniture behind him and to his left.

CAPTION: 

President Eisenhower.

CREDIT: 

LIBRARY OF CONGRESS.


RELATED TEXT: 

Although not an aggressive enforcer of civil rights, Eisenhower believed deeply in the rule of law, the Constitution, and the appropriate use of military force. When Governor Faubus used armed guardsmen to defy a ruling of the US Supreme Court, Eisenhower had no choice but to back constitutionally granted judicial and executive authority. He was the first president since Reconstruction to use federal troops to enforce civil rights. 

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IMAGES and TIMELINE: Little Rock, September 1957

IMAGE 1 of 7: 

A group of people stand outside a building.

DESCRIBING: 

The first, small, black and white photograph in a horizontal timeline.

SYNOPSIS: 

A group of soldiers and a white crowd stand outside a house.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION:

A white two-story house sits in the background. A crowd of white people with their hands on their hips or their hands crossed are gathered across an extended porch of the house and its front yard. They spill out on to a street. In the foreground, a mob lines up directly in front of a row of soldiers. The soldiers, dressed in khaki uniforms with fitted, round hard helmets and black square-shaped bags strapped across their backs, stand with their backs toward the camera as if to form a human barrier against this crowd of white people.

CREDIT: 

ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE.

RELATED TEXT:

September 2: 

Governor Faubus orders National Guard to bar African Americans from school for their quote, “safety.”

September 3: 

On first day of school mob gathers, (pictured above). Little Rock Nine do not appear.

IMAGE 2 of 7: 

Guardsmen stand between two students.

DESCRIBING: 

The second, small, black and white photograph in a horizontal timeline.

SYNOPSIS: 

A group of soldiers and two young women at a street corner. 

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: 

Four white Guardsmen with fitted, round hard helmets and rifles stand in a 2x2 formation where a street and sidewalk meet. Two of the Guardsmen stand in the background and two of the Guardsmen stand in the foreground next to a white street post and face a thin African American young woman. The young woman has short, curly black hair. 

A large troop transport truck is parked behind the group of Guardsmen and across the street. One of the Guardsmen points in front of him with one arm extended while his other hand, closest to the African American young woman, holds a rifle with the barrel pointing up. The African American young woman wears large, round, dark-framed sunglasses, a white collared short-sleeved blouse, and a full skirt. With a book cradled in her left arm, she points with her right arm in the same direction as the Guardsman. Her right elbow is bent and her right hand is held near her chest. A white young woman in a dress and carrying books walks unobstructed through this group of Guardsmen. She looks straight ahead and away from the scene that unfolds in front of her. 

CREDIT: 

WILL COUNTS / COURTESY OF VIVIAN COUNTS AND INDIANA UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES.

RELATED TEXT:

September 4: 

Guardsmen bar black students from entering school. Soon after Elizabeth Eckford is turned away, (pictured above), she is harassed by mob.

September 20:

Federal judge rules against use of National Guard to block students. Little Rock police are given responsibility for protecting the students.

IMAGE 3 of 7: 

Vehicles traveling down a road at night.

DESCRIBING: 

The third, small, black and white photograph in a horizontal timeline.

SYNOPSIS: 

A photograph of a row of trucks driving at night. 

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: 

Headlights from a convoy of seven or more vehicles illuminate a road at night. A large lighted billboard behind the lead vehicle at the left center of the photograph reads, "Who will build Arkansas if her own people do not?"

CREDIT: 

ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE.

RELATED TEXT:

September 23: 

Little Rock Nine enter the school, police cannot maintain order. Riot ensues and the students leave from a side entrance in a police car.

September 24: 

President Eisenhower federalizes Arkansas National Guard and sends 1,200 soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division, (pictured above), to Little Rock.

IMAGE 4 of 7: 

Soldier standing in front of school

DESCRIBING: 

The fourth, small, black and white photograph in a horizontal timeline.

SYNOPSIS: 

Soldiers and students approach Central High School.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: 

A uniformed white soldier in dark fatigues and a fitted, round, hard helmet stands above the lower entrance to the school beside a vehicle in the lower left corner foreground. In the background, approximately twenty soldiers in similar uniforms with rifles march in front, behind, and next to a small group of African American students who wear dresses or pants with collared shirts. Both groups walk past a reflecting pool of water surrounded by grass and shrubbery to ascend the left staircase in front of a brick school building with the words "Little Rock" affixed above two visible decorative archways.

CREDIT: 

WILL COUNTS / COURTESY OF VIVIAN COUNTS AND INDIANA UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES.

RELATED TEXT:

September 25: 

African American students enter Central High escorted by soldiers, (pictured above).

September 26: 

Faubus appears on television, saying, “We are now an occupied territory.” 101st Airborne Division leaves in November. Little Rock Nine endure physical and verbal abuse throughout the year.

IMAGE 5 of 7:

Person in cap and gown

DESCRIBING: 

The fifth, small, black and white photograph in a horizontal timeline.

SYNOPSIS: 

An African American young man stands in a graduation cap and gown

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: 

A thin African American young man stands in the center of the image with his body slightly turned to his left. He is dressed in a black graduation cap with a light tassel and dark gown. He wears a white collared shirt and a black tie visible at the neckline of the closed gown. His graduation cap tassel hangs down the right side of his face between his right ears and right eye.

His right hand, clasped over his left hand, hangs down near his lower front abdomen. He holds his head high which reveals his deep set eyes and thick eyebrows. He has close-cropped black hair. He is neither smiling or frowning, but looks as if he is deep in thought.

On the steps above him and on his left, a white young woman wears a white cap, white tassel, and white graduation gown. Her body is slightly turned facing the camera. She is also partially hidden by his body. Her tassel hangs on her right side near her piercing eyes. She has a tight-lipped smile and stares directly to the camera.

Below him at the right of the photograph is a partial side view of a light-colored graduation gown.

Over his left shoulder is a white man facing the camera. This man wears black pants and a white shirt with a badge. His left arm is bent with his left hand on his left hip. The man’s body is partially blocked, so his face is not fully visible. There are several additional people in the background of this photograph.

CREDIT: 

ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE.

RELATED TEXT: 

May 25, 1958: 

Ernest Green, (pictured above), is the first African American to graduate from Central High School. Green says:, “It’s been an interesting year. I’ve had a course in human relations first hand.”

IMAGE 6 of 7: 

School closed sign

DESCRIBING: 

The sixth, small, black and white photograph in a horizontal timeline.

SYNOPSIS: 

A sign stands in front of a series of decorative curved archways in an alcove of a building.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: 

A large sign, approximately four feet by eight feet, is prominently centered in the foreground of this image and staked into the ground around the front lawn at Central High School. The fabricated plywood sign reads, “This School Closed by Order of the Federal Government”, in large black bold lettering on a white background in varying font and size. The word "government" is misspelled with the letter "n" omitted. In the background of the photo are five arched openings and a staircase rising toward them.

CREDIT: UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS LITTLE ROCK ARCHIVES.

RELATED TEXT: 

1958: 

Faubus temporarily closes schools, giving voters a choice:, accept integration or reject it, (which they do, thereby closing schools for the 1958 59 year). Sign erected by Little Rock citizens is shown above.

1959: 

Federal court declares closings unconstitutional. Schools reopen in August. Three African Americans attend Central High School, including Jefferson Thomas and Carlotta Walls.

IMAGE 7 of 7: 

57 Button

DESCRIBING: 

A round, yellow and black image.

SYNOPSIS: 

A shadowed '57 Central High School Button floats above the timeline.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: 

A divided circular image, top half yellow and bottom half black. Two alternating yellow and black horizontal stripes divide the button in half. Large black letters "CENTRAL," (all caps), and slightly smaller "HIGH SCHOOL", (all caps), comprise the upper half against a yellow background.  A larger yellow "'57" makes up the lower half against a black background.

CAPTION: 

Central High School '57.

CREDIT: 

NPS.

QUOTE:

“If parents would just go home and let us alone, we’ll be all right. We can do it.”

—White female Central High student

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TIMELINE: US School Desegregation

This section has 11 text entries on a horizontal timeline.


Number 1. 1849: Roberts v. The City of Boston.

Supreme Court upholds segregated schools, provides precedent for Plessy v. Ferguson


Number 2. 1881: Tuskegee Institute.

Booker T. Washington founds school for African Americans. His emphasis on trades disturbs some African American leaders.


Number 3. 1896:  Plessy v. Ferguson.

Supreme Court establishes “separate but equal” doctrine.


Number 4. 1909:  Formation of NAACP. 

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, (NAACP), looks to courts to achieve equal rights.


Number 5. 1936: Univ. of Maryland v. Murray.

Maryland supreme court orders university’s law school to admit African American student.


Number 6. 1946: Mendez v. Westminster. 

Ends segregation of Latino students in Orange County, Calif. schools.


Number 7. 1950: Sweatt v. Painter.

Supreme Court finds that “separate but equal” is unattainable in higher education.


Number 8. 1954: Brown v. Board of Education.

Supreme Court overturns “separate but equal” doctrine. Brown II, (1955), mandates, though ambiguously, desegregation with “all deliberate speed.”


Number 9. 1960: Ruby Bridges. 

Six-year-old African American girl desegregates New Orleans elementary school, escorted through mob by federal marshals.


Number 10. 1972: Detroit Busing Plan.

Busing plan is reversed in 1974 by Supreme Court, (Millikin v. Bradley), affirming that courts could not remedy “white flight.”


Number 11. 1976: Boston Anti-Busing Riots. 

Residents of South Boston riot in response to court-ordered busing.

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OVERVIEW: Back side of the brochure.

Side two of the brochure is comprised of text, two maps, one color photograph, ten black and white photographs, and three images of artifacts related to this story.  The maps are located on the bottom left and right corners of the brochure. The left map identifies the overall footprint of Little Rock Central High School, while the right map shows the location of the site in relation to the city of Little Rock with roadways identified and a suggested route displayed. 

The text, associated maps and photo descriptions are presented under their own sections. In addition to the map and photos, the text sections provide descriptive details about the area around the site, relevant information about getting to the site, and amenities available at the site.

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IMAGES: Players in a Public Drama, The Little Rock Nine

Seven individual images of African American students and their names. No adjoining text. 

IMAGE 1 of 7: 

Terrence Roberts.

DESCRIBING: 

First small, rectangular black-and-white photograph in the horizontal row.

SYNOPSIS: 

A thin African American young man stands in the right foreground of the image. In the background, a large crowd of white men face the camera.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: 

He stands and faces the camera with the left side of his body. His shoulders slump and his arms hang down beside him. He wears a horizontal striped shirt, dark slacks, and a watch on his left wrist. A pencil is tucked behind his left ear. His thick eyebrows reveal calming eyes and a closed smile. He has black hair with a close-cropped cut.

Directly behind him, someone in a dark military uniform with a dark bag hanging over their left shoulder encounters a crowd of onlookers. 

CAPTION: 

Terrence Roberts.

CREDIT: 

TOMANIO / UNIV. OF ARKANSAS LITTLE ROCK ARCHIVES.


IMAGE 2 of 7: 

Elizabeth Eckford

DESCRIBING: 

Second small, rectangular black-and-white photograph in the horizontal row.

SYNOPSIS: 

An African American young woman sits alone with a crowd of white people gathered behind her. 

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: 

An African American young woman sits on a bench with a small crowd of white men standing directly behind her. A partially visible Stop sign is in the upper right-hand corner of the photo directly off to her right side. She sits on the end of a bench with her hands crossed one another and holds a book in her lap. She wears large round dark-framed sunglasses, a white collared short-sleeved blouse, and a full skirt with a white waist and checkered pattern below. Her hair is black, curly and medium in length.  She wears plain white low-cut shoes. A sad, blank expression is on her face as she stares straight ahead and away from the onlookers that surround her.

The crowd behind her consists of an older white man who stands over her right shoulder. He looks into the camera with deep-set squinting eyes. He wears a dark-colored suit, a dark-colored bowtie, white shirt and has a close-cut haircut. He writes on a tablet with a pen in his right hand. 

Behind him, a crowd of white men with both angry and concerned looks on their faces stares directly at the young woman. There are two, tall, slender white men with dark combed-back hair standing directly behind her at the bench. One stands to the left and wears a white short-sleeve shirt with dark and light horizontal thin stripes. The man beside him wears a short-sleeve button-down shirt with a checkered pattern and light colored pants.  

Several other white men in the distance look on and face the camera as they glare at the young woman on the bench.

CAPTION: 

Elizabeth Eckford.

CREDIT: 

WILL COUNTS / COURTESY OF VIVIAN COUNTS AND INDIANA UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES.


IMAGE 3 of 7:

Ernest Green

DESCRIBING: 

Third small, rectangular black-and-white photograph in the horizontal row.

SYNOPSIS: 

An African American young man in graduation attire stands in a field and in front of other youth and adults. 

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: 

A thin African American young man stands at the front left of this photo. Facing right, he stands by himself on grassy grounds on a sunny graduation day. His left arm crosses his body above his waist and holds his right elbow close to his body. His right hand tightly holds his graduation cap against his body.

He is dressed in a black graduation gown. His grey suit and white collared shirt extend above the neckline of the closed gown. He wears a watch on his left arm. He has a close-cropped hair style, deep set eyes and defined cheekbones. His mouth is partially opened. 

A small group of white young men wear their black graduation caps and gowns and stand a few feet behind him and to his right. To the left of these white graduates, white men in grey suits and hats stand with their backs facing the camera. 

In the left background, there is a grey building with white trim just in front of several tall trees.

CAPTION: 

Ernest Green.

CREDIT: 

WILL COUNTS / COURTESY OF VIVIAN COUNTS AND INDIANA UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES.


IMAGE 4 of 7: 

Thelma Mothershed and Minnijean Brown.

DESCRIBING: 

Fourth small, rectangular black-and-white photograph in the horizontal row.

SYNOPSIS: 

Two African American young women sit at a table.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: 

Thelma and Minnijean sit together and eat at a table. Thelma's gaze faces the table. She wears glasses and a bow at the back of her hair which is pulled into a ponytail. Her dress has a white sleeveless blouse and a dark hoop skirt that billows from the waist. Two horizontal white fabric strands embroidered with horse-drawn wagons decorate her skirt.

Minnijean has short coiffed hair and wears a solid color blouse with white polka dots. She throws a sideways glance at the camera and holds a fork in her left hand just above the table surface. She chews with a closed mouth. A drink container with a straw on top of the table and the left leg of a person under the table are visible in the photo. 

CAPTION: 

Thelma Mothershed, (left), and Minnijean Brown.

CREDIT: 

ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE.


IMAGE 5 of 7:

Jefferson Thomas.

DESCRIBING:

Fifth small, rectangular black-and-white photograph in the horizontal row.

SYNOPSIS: 

An African American young man stands against a street signpost.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: 

A thin, tall African American young man with a close-cropped haircut wears a dark short-sleeve shirt and dark pants. His eyes, mouth, and body posture are all downturned. In the center of the photo, he stands facing left with his left hand on top of a vertical white concrete street pillar. A small group of white young men in the background await him directly across the street.

CAPTION: 

Jefferson Thomas

CREDIT: 

CORBIS

IMAGE 6 of 7: 

Carlotta Walls and Gloria Ray

DESCRIBING: 

Sixth small, rectangular black-and-white photograph in the horizontal row.

SYNOPSIS: 

Four young African Americans stand and face the camera while a guardsman blocks their path.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: 

At left, a white soldier with clenched mouth wears a fitted, round hard helmet with a hanging chin strap. He holds a white cylindrical club close to his chest. His stare focuses intently to his right on an African American young man. The young man has turned down eyebrows and bites his lip as he stands immediately beside three African American young women.

To his left, a young woman with short, curly hair, a gently closed mouth and wide-open eyes wears a plaid checkered blouse. With a furrowed brow, she stands in front of a taller African American young woman in a white blouse.

To her right and immediately adjacent to the soldier, another young woman waits. Her mouth hangs slightly open and matches her long, narrow face. Two ringlets of black hair hang onto her forehead. Her eyebrows are turned in as she stares straight ahead as if confused. 

CAPTION: 

Carlotta Walls, (left), Gloria Ray. 

CREDIT: 

WILL COUNTS / COURTESY OF VIVIAN COUNTS AND INDIANA UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES.

IMAGE 7 of 7: 

Melba Pattillo

DESCRIBING: 

Seventh small, rectangular black-and-white photograph in the horizontal row.

SYNOPSIS: 

Two African American young women descend a set of stairs with an escort of soldiers behind them.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION:  

In the center of the photo, an African American young woman with short hair  wears a light-colored button-down shirt and a polka dot knee-length skirt. She cradles a stack of books in her folded arms in front of her and clutches a handbag with her right hand. She stares off to her left and obscures two other individuals behind her with only their books and their arms visible.

In front of her, another African American young woman with short, curly black hair wears a dark sweater over a light-colored dress. She cradles her books to her front right and gazes slightly downward. 

On the steps behind these two women stand a group of soldiers only identifiable by their uniforms. 

CAPTION: 

Melba Pattillo, (center).

CREDIT: 

TOMANIO / UNIV. OF ARKANSAS LITTLE ROCK ARCHIVES.

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IMAGES and TEXT: A Clash of Viewpoints

This is the first of three horizontal components under the students' pictures. It has 2 images and corresponding text in 2 columns.

IMAGE 1 of 2: 

STOP button

DESCRIBING: 

A small, circular color image.

SYNOPSIS: 

A button with inscribed letters. 

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION:

A round, cream-colored image of a button with the acronym "STOP" engraved in large red capitalized letters on a yellow background.  The button is tilted to the lower left so that the letters appear at a slightly downward angle. The letters comprise more than half of the blank space in this round image.

CREDIT: 

NPS.


IMAGE 2 of 2:

A flyer

DESCRIBING: 

A vertical illustration with black ink on white paper.

SYNOPSIS: 

An underlined title in capitalized letters at the top of the page reads, “Brotherhood By Bayonet.” 

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: 

The cartoon drawing in the center depicts two male soldiers in fitted hard helmets, boots, and rifles. The soldier on the left uses his foot to force a small white female with a bow in her hair toward the center of the image. The soldier on the right uses the weight of his body to push his straight arm and force a small black female with white hair toward the center of the image. The small black female is crudely drawn in thick black ink but without a face. The two females dig in their heels, extend their arms behind them, and push their backsides towards the ground, but the force of the soldiers collides their foreheads together. 

A building with a bell tower on top stands alone in the background of the scene. An underlined caption in all caps under the drawing reads, “Start Loving Each Other, That’s A Court Order.”  Three lines of stacked and all capitalized letters pose a question at the bottom of the page, “Since When Does Might Make Right?”

CREDIT: 

NPS.


RELATED TEXT: 

Some Little Rock citizens who opposed integration were ready to accept it to avoid disrupting their children’s education and damaging the city's reputation as progressive—, and thus its business prospects. (To most African Americans the city was progressive only in the eyes of the whites and only in relation to more racially intolerant southern cities.) Others dug in their heels against change, and both sides began marshaling their forces.

Opponents of desegregation formed the Capital Citizens Council and the Mothers’ League of Central High School, circulating flyers and petitioning the courts to delay desegregation and remove federal troops. After an African American student was expelled, a group of students distributed anti-integration cards reading “One Down . . . Eight To Go.” 

When the divided school board fired 44 teachers and administrators suspected of supporting integration, the group Stop This Outrageous Purge, (STOP), supported by the Women’s Emergency Committee, demanded a special school board election to recall the segregationist board members. They in turn organized the Committee to Retain Our Segregated Schools, (CROSS), to block the recall. The recall effort was successful and most of the teachers were rehired.

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IMAGE and TEXT: The Eyes of the World

This is the middle of three horizontal components under the students' pictures. It has 1 image and corresponding text in 2 columns. 

DESCRIBING:

A medium-sized, rectangular black and white photo with landscaped orientation.

SYNOPSIS: 

A white man attacks an African American man as an angry white mob watches.  

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: 

A tall, slender African American man with a receding hairline wears a dark colored suit, white shirt and dark tie. He clutches a light-colored fedora hat in his right hand. Behind him, a white man wears a white long sleeve shirt and tan pants. Using his left arm, the white man chokes the African American man around the throat. His right hand balances on the shoulder of the African American man as he straddles his lower back with both of his legs off the ground. The African American man's mouth is open as he gasps for air and seems to struggle to keep his balance.  


Directly behind the two men and to their right sits a two-toned vehicle with double doors and small windows at the rear. The upper half of the vehicle is painted a light color while the lower half of the vehicle contrasts with a darker shade of paint. The words "Standard Coffee" are affixed and centered in the middle of the vehicle's double doors. A license plate is visible on the vehicle's lower left bumper.

At the right of the photo, an angry mob of white men follows closely behind on a tree-lined sidewalk. There are two white men in the foreground. Next to the African American man, one of these white men wears a light-colored, short-sleeve button-down shirt and light-colored pants. He clutches a brick in his right hand and casts a glare toward the African American man. The other white man wears a light-colored jacket and a fedora hat. He holds his white counterpart back by his right arm. Both white men lean in to the scuffle. 

CAPTION: 

One of the photographers on the scene was 26-year-old Will Counts. Working for the Little Rock Arkansas Gazette, Counts caught on film mobs screaming at Elizabeth Eckford and beating a black newsman.

CREDIT: WILL COUNTS / COURTESY OF VIVIAN COUNTS AND INDIANA UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES.


RELATED TEXT: 

The Little Rock crisis occurred in the infancy of TV and was among the first news stories filmed as events unfolded. The Magnolia Mobil service station near the school became an impromptu press base from which reporters called in their stories. 

One of the photographers on the scene was 26-year-old Will Counts. Working for the Little Rock Arkansas Gazette, Counts caught on film mobs screaming at Elizabeth Eckford and beating a black newsman. These powerful photographs helped spur President Eisenhower to act, partly because during the Cold War battle for the moral high ground the nation was embarrassed by scenes casting American society in a negative light. These now-iconic images were among those published in A Life Is More Than A Moment, Counts’ moving visual essay on the events in Little Rock. 

The worldwide coverage, generating outrage at the violent denial of basic rights, became a model for the civil rights movement’s use of the media over the next decade. 

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IMAGES and TEXT: Women on the Front Lines

This is the last of three horizontal components under the students' pictures. It has 3 images and corresponding text in 2 columns.

IMAGE 1 of 3: 

Group of people smiling.

DESCRIBING: 

A small, rectangular black-and-white photo.

SYNOPSIS: 

A crowd of people with three white women prominently identifiable stand together on a concrete lot.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: 

A white woman at the far right of the photo has dark curly hair combed back off her face, dark eyebrows and dark eyes. Her heavy lipstick accentuates a crooked, pursed-lipped smile and a tilted gaze. She wears a small white hat, a dark shin-length dress with a white collar, and light-colored shoes. She stands with her shoulders down, her arms to her side, and her feet close together. 

Over her right shoulder, a white woman with a full head of curly dark hair, dark eyebrows, dark eyes and dark lipstick stands slightly shorter. She is dressed in a light-colored top, a dark shin-length skirt, and light-colored flat shoes. She holds her hands in front of her against her skirt. Her open mouth smiles as if in approval. 

At the front left of the photo, a third white woman with light-colored, shoulder length curly hair stands with her right side to the camera. Her right foot is slightly in front of her left and her hands are clasped together in front of her breastbone. She wears a white sleeveless blouse and a light-colored full skirt. 

Additional men and women gather in small groups in the background.

CAPTION: 

Mothers’ League.

CREDIT: 

ARKANSAS DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE.

IMAGE 2 of 3: 

Poster

DESCRIBING: 

A pale yellow rectangular image with text and illustrations.

SYNOPSIS: 

A poster with hand-drawn illustrations and alternating hand-written and typed text advocates for education in Little Rock. 

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: 

In the center of this poster is an hand-drawn caricature of a person with both arms stretched upward. The person wears a light-colored shirt and has short hair with straight eyebrows over small inset eyes. The nose is barely visible and the mouth is drawn in a circular shape as if yawning.

At the top of the poster, gray-shaded, hand-written capital letters are outlined in black with the message, "Wake Up, Little Rock." Centered and stacked below the caricature, black hand-written capital lettering reads, "Your public school system is being destroyed, We stand for education, not integration nor segregation." The word "destroyed" is darkly shaded as if for emphasis. In smaller typed letters, a centered and stacked listing displays related contact information, "Women’s Emergency Committee To Open Our Schools, P.O. Box 122, Pulaski Heights Station, Little Rock, Arkansas."

CAPTION: 

Women’s Emergency Committee took a strong stand in favor of opening the schools under the school board’s desegregation plan.

CREDIT: 

ARKANSAS HISTORY COMMISSION

IMAGE 3 of 3: 

Daisy L. Gatson Bates

DESCRIBING: 

A rectangular black and white photograph.

SYNOPSIS: 

An African American woman and four African American young women stand in front of a house.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: 

A middle aged African American woman stands and leans forward while surrounded by African American young women on the front yard of a house. She wears a dark vest that covers a light-colored long sleeve blouse and dark skirt. She stands in the center of the four young women and looks toward her left. She has short black curly hair and slightly turned down eyes. Her mouth is agape as if speaking. Her right arm reaches for a young woman's left forearm on her far right. 

This young woman with short curly black hair wears a plaid short-sleeved dress with a white bowtie. Her eyes focus toward the center of the photo on the middle aged woman. Between these two women, another young woman with short black hair bows her head and clasps her hands. She wears a dark-printed dress with a dark sweater over it. 


In the right corner of the photo, a young woman with glasses wears a white short-sleeved dress and a white ribbon on her black ponytailed hair. Her left arm bends upward and her right arm touches her own left shoulder. Her face looks toward the middle aged female. Beside her, another young woman turns her head towards the middle aged female. She wears a white blouse and a white skirt with a repeating print.

CAPTION: 

Daisy L. Gatson Bates, president of the state chapter of the NAACP

CREDIT: 

GETTY IMAGES / TIME & LIFE PICTURES COLLECTION

RELATED TEXT: 

Women and female students played a leading role in the crisis. The Mothers’ League became the face of segregation. The Council of Church Women protested when Governor Faubus used the National Guard to bar the nine students. When civic and business leaders failed to protest the school closings, the Women’s Emergency Committee took a strong stand in favor of opening the schools under the school board’s desegregation plan. 

Daisy L. Gatson Bates, president of the state chapter of the NAACP, pressed for immediate rather than gradual desegregation and during the crisis was spokesperson for the students. In response segregationists threw a rock through her window, fired shots at her home, and firebombed her lawn.

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QUOTE: Daisy L. Gatson Bates

The following quote spreads across all three previous horizontal components.

"Any time it takes 11,500 soldiers to assure nine Negro children their constitutional rights in a democratic society, I can’t be happy."

—Daisy L. Gatson Bates

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MAP and TEXT: History of the School

First of three horizontal components at the bottom of the back side of the brochure. It contains a map under corresponding text in three columns.

DESCRIBING: 

Horizontal and rectangular wayfinding, cultural history, and cognitive map that shows the layout of the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, other points of interest within the National Historic Site, and their location relative to nearby streets.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: 

The tan background map shows the grid of city streets indicated by wide white lines or paths. A key at the bottom left of the map indicates that north is at the top of the map and that the historical boundary is roughly 400 meters wide by 200 meters long in its dimensions. The site boundaries are denoted by a series of green dotted and dashed alternating lines with green lettering that labels it as the National Historic Site boundary. The boundaries are defined by Jones Street to the west, W. Daisy L. Gatson Bates Drive to the north, Park Street to the east and 16th Street to the south.

Within the historic boundary and slightly right of center is a brown solid shape that depicts a bird's-eye view of Central High School. This curved block shape spans the north and south boundaries of the site. To the west of Central High School, the oval shape of Quigley Stadium sits parallel to Jones Street and spans the north and south boundaries on the far western side of the National Historic Site. 

The northeast corner of the map includes a Commemorative Garden and the Visitor Center at the intersection of Park Street and W. Daisy L. Gatson Bates Drive, respectively. Both landmarks sit just north of W. Daisy L. Gatson Bates Drive.  The Historic Mobil Station is located on the southeast corner of Park and W. Daisy L. Gatson Bates Drive just south of the Visitor Center. 

For additional assistance, a tactile map of Central High School is located within the exhibits inside the Visitor Center.

CAPTION: 

A map of the administrative boundary of Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site.

CREDIT: 

NPS Illustration.

RELATED TEXT:  

From its dedication in 1927, Little Rock Senior High School, (note, its name was changed to Little Rock Central High School in 1953), was recognized as more than a typical American school. The massive structure, a handsome blend of Art Deco and Gothic Revival styles, was named by the American Institute of Architects as “America’s Most Beautiful High School.” Central High was celebrated for its size, (100 classrooms, capacity for more than 2,000 students, a huge auditorium and stage), and for its academic excellence. The school also served as a civic center in Little Rock, hosting concerts, plays, and other events. It was a focus of community pride and a cultural symbol, perhaps one of the reasons so many fought so fiercely against change at the school. 

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IMAGE and TEXT: Please Note

Center of three horizontal components at the bottom of the back side of the brochure. Text overlays a large image and caption.

DESCRIBING: 

A medium, square color photograph.

SYNOPSIS: 

A set of decorative archways in the foreground frame a white building in the background.

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION:

In the foreground of the photo, a red brick and white concrete archway stands in a plaza surrounded by grass, trees, and a stone bench. Etched atop the archway is an ornamental stone frieze of circles, arched columns and repeated pattern designs, while two statues reside on brick pillars at the center left and right of this monument.

Behind this, a second archway stands with black and white images mirrored in its shining panels. The evening sun is reflected in the photo just above the archway's curved opening. Between the archways, a round steel circle is inlaid in the plaza. Installed lights are dispersed around the archway bases.

Through the front archway opening, a white gas station with a red terra cotta roof, windows, and gas pumps stands silently in the background as dusk approaches. Homes in the background are visible through the opening of the rear archway. 

CAPTION: 

In the Central High Commemorative Garden, reflective arches echo the school façade and symbolize triumph over intolerance. Nine trees and benches honor the students.

CREDIT: 

NPS.

RELATED TEXT: 

Central High, although an important historical landmark, is still an operating high school attended by more than 2,000 students. Visit the grounds in front of the school, but do not enter the school on your own. By agreement with the school, the park gives organized group tours of the interior. Reservations are necessary. 

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TEXT: About Your Visit

Last of three horizontal components at the bottom of the back side of the brochure. This contains a map under corresponding text in four vertical columns. Each column has a different subheading in bold text.

First Column Text: 

The Visitor Center is open daily from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. It is open year-round except Thanksgiving, December 25, and January 1. We suggest you start with the exhibits in the visitor center. Call ahead to arrange for group tours of park sites. 

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OVERVIEW: Accessibility

Third Column Text: 

The visitor center and the Commemorative Garden are accessible. With prior notice, accessible group tours of Little Rock Central High school are available. The interpretive exhibits include several captioned and audio-described programs. Service animals are welcome. 

Additional Information: 

Parking: 

Two accessible parking spaces are available immediately adjacent to the east entrance of the visitor center. One accessible parking space is available in the parking lot immediately east and adjacent to the Historic Mobil Station. 

Tactile Models:

 A miniature model of Little Rock Central High School is available at the front desk of the visitor center. A larger tactile model is inside the visitor center at the exhibit labeled "It Happened Here." Tactile models of the high school building columns and decorative architectural features are in the exhibit labeled "America's Most Beautiful High School." A third tactile model that compares the scale of Little Rock Central High School and Dunbar High School is in the exhibit labeled "Can separate be equal?"

Park Movie: 

Audio Described and Captioned Movie available in the visitor center multipurpose room.

Durateq Assistive Technology Device: 

Provides assistive listening, audio station captions and audio description for the exhibits in the visitor center. Please request at the front desk inside the visitor center. 

UbiDuo Communication Device: 

A text communication device without barriers. Please request at the front desk inside the visitor center.

NPS App: 

Download the NPS App for a self-guided audio tour with transcript for the National Historic Site.

Water Fountains are accessible inside the visitor center.

For more information, visit the accessibility page on our website.

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OVERVIEW: More Information

Fourth column of text: 

Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site.

ADDRESS: 2120 West Daisy L. Gatson Bates Drive, Little Rock, Arkansas 72202

PHONE: 501-374-1957

WEBSITE

Visit the National Park Service website to learn more about your national parks.

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MAP and TEXT: Directions

DESCRIBING: 

A horizontal, rectangular map with several different colored elements.

SYNOPSIS: 

A wayfinding and cognitive map shows a square grid about 2.5 miles wide by 1.5 miles long and depicts the location of Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site within the city of Little Rock.  

IN-DEPTH DESCRIPTION: 

Interstate 30 runs north and south across the far right side of the map. Interstate 630 connects with Interstate 30 at exit 139B in the southeast corner and runs north and west across the center of the map. Points of interest on the map are the State Capitol at the top center of the map, Dunbar Middle School at the lower center of the map, and Little Rock Central High School at the lower left of the map. The best route to the National Historic Site from Interstate 630 is to take Exit 2B south to reach Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. As you proceed west on Daisy L. Gatson Bates Drive, the visitor center is on your right and Little Rock Central High School is on your left at the intersection of Park Street.

Railroad tracks run from the southwest corner of the map, curve east, and end in the north central part of the map just northeast of the State Capitol. The Arkansas River cuts across the map in the far northeast corner of the map. Capitol Avenue travels west from the northeastern part of the grid and dead ends at the State Capitol. Dunbar Middle School is located between 16th and 17th Streets on Wright Avenue due east of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and due west of Broadway Street.

CREDIT: 

NPS Map.

RELATED TEXT in third column:  

From Interstate 630 exit on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive (Exit 2B). Take a right on Daisy L. Gatson Bates Drive. Little Rock Central High School is at the intersection of Bates Drive and Park Street. Parking is available at the visitor center.

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