In 1957, desegregation laws came into effect at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Central High decided to admit nine black students in September.
This was opposed by the Governor of Arkansas, Orval Faubus who sent state soldiers to the school to stop the black students entering.
President Eisenhower ordered Faubus to remove the state soldiers. He also sent 1000 US soldiers to protect the black students on their way to and from school.
Although they were subject to threats and violence the black students never retaliated.
One of the students, Elizabeth Eckford recalled
my knees started to shake and I wondered if I would make it to school. The crowd moved closer. Somebody started yelling ‘Drag her over to this tree! Let’s take care of that nigger.
The events in Little Rock attracted worldwide attention to the civil rights movement and can be seen to have directly influenced the Civil Rights Act of 1957.
Some have argued that, despite the intervention of the government, the events at Little Rock changed almost nothing for the majority.