July/August 2007 issue

Library Prepares "Little Rock 9" Display

by Joan Voelker, Archives Librarian

The U.S. Courts Library 8th Circuit is preparing a display commemorating the 50th anniversary of Little Rockís desegregation case and integration crisis.

When Arkansasí legislature and Governor Orval Faubus fought integration following the Supreme Courtís ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, it took orders from U.S. District Court Judge Davies of the District of North Dakota, sitting by designation in Arkansas, and the force of Army troops sent by President Eisenhower to allow nine African American students to walk through the doors of Central High School in September 1957. The following year, integration of Little Rock schools was again fought in the courts, with the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court (Cooper v. Aaron, 358 U.S. 1) ruling in favor of integration.
This landmark case sent the message to all states that the federal courts would not tolerate state refusal to comply with desegregation. Duplicate copies of the display will be shown simultaneously in the Little Rock and Fargo federal courthouses in September 2007. In October, the displays will be in the Fargo and St. Louis federal courthouses.