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Elizabeth Ann Eckford

Of the Little Rock Nine

Emren Fogle

on 1 June 2013

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Transcript of Elizabeth Ann Eckford

Elizabeth Eckford Of the Little Rock Nine Elizabeth was born on October 4, 1941, to Oscar, and Birdie Eckford, and is one of six children. Elizabeth Eckford Life In September 1958, Faubus signed the bill that enabled him and the Little Rock School District to close all public schools, preventing both black and white students from attending school. Elizabeth tried to enter the campus twice, only to be turned away both times by Arkansas National Guard troops, there under orders from Governor Faubus. A Nasty School Experience Life After High School Elizabeth Eckford Her father worked nights as a dining car maintenance worker for the Missouri Pacific Railroad's Little Rock station When Elizabeth Her mother taught as t he segregated state school for the blind, and deaf children Elizabeth's Involvement In the Little Rock Nine Elizabeth, and nine other black kids were chosen to be apart of integrating schools. They were the only ones brave enough to task on this risky task. The Little Rock Nine were supposed to go together, but their meeting place was changed the previous night. Daisy Bates, a civil rights activist, intended to go to Elizabeth's house earlier the next day but never made it. When Elizabeth Eckford arrived at the campus at the intersection of 14th and Park Streets, alone; she was confronted by an angry mob of segregationist protestors. After Elizabeth's failed attempt to enter the school she made her way through the angry mob screaming "Two, four,six, eight, we ain't gonna integrate" and "lynch her", to sit on the bus bench at the end block. Once she got to the bus stop she couldn't stop crying. A reporter, Benjamin Fine, sat down next to Elizabeth, and tried to comfort her, and told her "don't let them see you cry." Soon she was also protected by a white woman named Grace Lorch who escorted her onto the city bus. Grace Lorch The President Gets Involved On September 23,1957, a mob of a bout 1000 people surrounded the school as the students attempted to enter. The students were able to enter unobstructed after after the mob attacked a group of black reporters, The following day, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, after seeing the photos taken by local photojournalist Will Counts, sent troops to accompany the students to school for protection. The troops were stationed at the school for the entire school year, although they were unable to prevent daily incidents of violence, such as when Eckford was thrown down a flight of stairs. Governor Faubus Closes The Schools Because all of the city's high schools were closed Elizabeth didn't graduate from Little Rock Central High School, but she had taken correspondence, and night courses storing up enough credits for her high school diploma. Elizabeth served in the United States Army for five years, first as a pay clerk, and then as an information specialist. She also wrote for the Fort McClellan (Alabama) and the Fort Benjamin Harrison (Indiana) newspapers. After that, she has worked as a waitress, history teacher, welfare worker, unemployment and employment interviewer, and a military reporter. She currently works as a probation officer in Little Rock, and is the mother of two sons. Elizabeth was accepted by Knox College in Illinois, but she left, returning to be near her family in Little Rock. She would later attended Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio, where she earned a BA in History. Jobs Elizabeth Eckford Today Elizabeth has spent decades fighting the depression and despair that descended on her that first day at Central and continued through her hate-filled year there, when segregationist students incessantly tormented her and the other black students. Hazel Massery Elizabeth and Hazel had first met two years earlier, on the 40th anniversary of the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School. Will Counts, who had returned to Little Rock for the ceremonies commemorating the 40th anniversary of the schools crisis, had convinced them to pose together. Hazel required little persuasion; at long last, she thought, the world could see what she had become, not just what she’d been. Elizabeth, characteristically, was more wary, but she was also curious, and she agreed. Elizabeth And Hazel Elizabeth and Hazel started spending time together, taking a seminar on racial tolerance, collecting awards from civil-rights groups and, though public speaking initially came hard to Elizabeth—she would have trash cans lined with Hefty bags placed alongside her, just in case she got sick—talking to schoolchildren. Along the way, something funny happened: they discovered they liked one another. For all their differences, it turned out that they shared a lot: a love of history, and thrift shops, and used paperbacks, and flowers. They were also loners, with few people, even in their own families, in whom they could confide. They discussed their lives and their children. And they began dreaming big dreams, like doing a book together. Elizabeth and Hazel They finally finished their dream!
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