The Myth of the Little Rock Nine

Whenever the topic of the Little Rock Nine appears today, we are immediately reminded about the nine little black angels who faced the ignorant backwoods Arkansas rednecks for their “human right” to receive an education. Well, at least, that’s the established narrative. The truth of the situation is much more complicated.

In 1957, it had been 3 years since the unconstitutional Brown V Board decision, yet the South had largely managed to defy the illegal decision by the Supreme Court. Some of the schools in the Upper South had begun token integration, but the Deep South, under the leadership of Georgia, had held the Color Line in place. However, during those three years the powers that be were slowly moving to reinforce the perverted mission of amalgamation.

The press had been running with the story of the killing of Chicago born Emmitt Till, in Mississippi, after he had been killed for harassing a local Mississippi woman. That was in 1955, and the press around the world used it to criticize and ridicule the entire social order of the South. They were already trying to mold the narrative in the mind of the American public that Southerners were the new Nazis and needed to be destroyed and conquered once again. They painted the South as the adversaries of the “glorious and flawless democracy” that had brought victory for the world in 1945.

The story started, not with a grassroots movement by downtrodden blacks, but with the Superintendent of Education of Little Rock, Virgil Blossom, who was hellbent to push capitulation to the Brown V Board decision, despite the fact that the majority of Little Rock wanted to keep segregation in place. To make a modern-day comparison, think of the politically correct school boards that change the name of schools with Confederate namesakes for the sake of appeasing the anti-Southern media and liberals. In both instances, you have people in power ignoring the wants and wishes of the people who elected them. Blossom, in short, was an avowed traitor and his plan was to slowly boil the frog by gradually integrating targeted schools.

Blossom and the NAACP targeted the renowned Little Rock Central High School, a symbol of the success that Southerners had achieved after the War of Northern Aggression. It was attended by the sons and daughters of the upper and middle class of Arkansas and located in the state capitol. It’s hard to envision such a successful public school in a city, much less a state capitol, today. In 1957, the NAACP registered nine of the best and most well achieved black students from the local black school; they wanted to make sure the first experience the white youth of Little Rock had with blacks would be with the brightest and most well off of them. They wanted White Southerners to think, “well, look these blacks aren’t so bad to be around and there’s only nine of them.” In hindsight, this wasn’t the case, but some of the softest and most gullible Whites were tricked by this devious ploy.

The nine black students were soon lionized and glorified by the national press; this was despite the fact that these students attended a black school before this, making the argument that they were being denied an education bull. So, these nine black students, with the media rats trailing behind them, would attempt to enter Little Rock Central High. They were met with a crowd of Southern protesters who were sick of being a doormat and having their way of life destroyed by a far off court in D.C..  Imagine you were a Southerner in 1957, and you just witnessed the Supreme Court ban segregation, then the media targets your local town and decides your kids are going to be forced to participate in an egalitarian social experiment against their will. Today, the high school is minority-majority. The racial breakdown of the school in 2017 was 55% Black, 33% White, 7% Asian, 4% Hispanic, and 1% two or more races.

For once, these people would have the chance to vent their frustration and anger for the federal government at a specific person, or group of people; this is the reason you see the protesters yelling and screaming at the Little Rock Nine. Those nine students were interlopers who didn’t belong, nor were they wanted, at Little Rock Central High. The parents, whose children attended this school, were sick and tired of being ordered around and having their laws overturned by faceless judges. Many of the fathers had fought in World War 2, they certainly weren’t fighting for blacks to flood their esteemed schools. They fought tooth and nail for what they had thought was a crusade to defend America from an authoritarian and tyrannical rule; now they were having their laws overturned in the name of radical left-wing rhetoric. They were (and still are) the ones accused of being Unamerican, because they refused to give up their institutions and community.

On September 4th, 1957, Governor Orval Faubus ordered the Arkansas National Guard to block the Little Rock Nine from entering the high school. Faubus, a native of Arkansas and a WWII veteran who served under Patton, was part of the anti-corruption political faction in Arkansas, which was led by veterans. He was a Democrat and would largely be considered moderate, if not perhaps a leftist, by most. He ran for Governor in 1954 and was able to win over many black voters, but he wasn’t gutless, nor a traitor and although he originally considered allowing integration to happen, his mind soon changed. Governor Marvin Griffin of Georgia would change his mind after a telephone conversation, warning him of the dire consequences of letting integration take place in Arkansas. He encouraged Faubus to fight the orders and stand his ground, like a true Southern man, or he’d be forfeiting his birthright. Due to this conversation, Faubus, with the support of the Arkansas people, called in the Arkansas troopers.

Thus began the first climactic military showdown between the federal government and Southern states since Reconstruction.