Central High School National Historic Site
On the morning of September 23, 1957, nine African-American high school students faced an angry mob of over 1,000 whites protesting integration in front of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. As the students were escorted inside by the Little Rock police, violence escalated and they were removed from the school. The next day, President Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered 1,200 members of the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division from Fort Campbell to escort the nine students into the school. As one of the nine students remembered, "After three full days inside Central [High School], I know that integration is a much bigger word than I thought." This event, watched by the nation and world, was the site of the first important test for the implementation of the U.S. Supreme Court's historic Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision of 1954. The crisis at Little Rock's Central High School was the first fundamental test of the national resolve to enforce African-American civil rights in the face of massive southern defiance during the years following the Brown decision. Little Rock Central High School was designated a unit of the National Park Service on November 6, 1998. It is located at the intersection of Daisy L. Gatson Bates Drive and Park Street in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Located across the intersection from the school, the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site Visitor Center contains interactive exhibits on the 1957 desegregation crisis at Little Rock Central High School with several audio-visual programs (open captioned) that introduce visitors to the multi-layered and complex history of the events at Little Rock Central High School in 1957. In addition, the exhibits contain interactive oral history listening stations where visitors can learn about the events from the participants.