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|Elizabeth Eckford, age 15, pursued by a mob at Little Rock Central High School on the first day of the school year, September 4, 1957.|
(1941-10-04) October 4, 1941
Little Rock, Arkansas
|College(s)||Knox College in Illinois
Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio
|Movement||Civil Rights Movement|
|Wife/Husband||She didnt have one|
|Kid(s)||Erin Eckford, Calvin Oliver|
|Parent(s)||Oscar and Birdie Eckford|
|Awards Won||Congressional Gold Medal
Father Joseph Biltz Award
Like all black people in the southern United States at that time she frequents a school for black students. When she is 15 years old, the Supreme Court of the United States declares that the segregation of students is illegal, however, in Arkansas, white schools reject the entry of black students. On September 4, 1957, Elizabeth and eight other African-American students attempt to enter Little Rock Central High School, reserved for white students, which is why they are detained by the Arkansas National Guard. They are insulted by an angry crowd.
The group tries again, days later, to attend another institute only for whites, the Central High School, but it is again rejected.
On September 24, 1957, the president of the United States, Dwight Eisenhower, tries to convince the governor Orval Faubus but the negotiations fail; the president then sends elements of the North American Navy to accompany them to Little Rock Nine Central High School.
The population was enraged, so finally the governor decided to close all the schools for a year, rather than allow the mixture between white and black students.
In 1958, Elizabeth Eckford moves to San Luis (Missouri) where she gets the necessary qualification to study the university career of History. After college, she became the first African-American woman in Saint Louis to work in a bank in a non-janitor position.
Elizabeth returned to Little Rock in the 1960s and worked in public school as a substitute teacher. Today, the school houses a museum that commemorates those events and denounces racial discrimination.
In 1996, seven of the Little Rock Nine, including Elizabeth Eckford, appeared on Oprah Winfrey’s television show, where they had a face-to-face meeting with some of the white students who supported racial segregation during that time, as well as as with a white student who supported them throughout their anti-segregation trajectory.
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