Why Is the Little Rock Nine Event Significant in American History?

The Little Rock Nine event is a significant moment in American history that highlights the struggles of the Civil Rights Movement. In 1957, nine African American students were prevented from attending Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas due to segregation laws.

The Background

At the time, segregation was legal in many states across America, and schools were one of the most contentious areas. In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. However, many Southern states resisted this ruling and continued to segregate their schools.

The Little Rock Nine

In 1957, nine African American students – Ernest Green, Elizabeth Eckford, Jefferson Thomas, Terrence Roberts, Carlotta Walls LaNier, Minnijean Brown Trickey, Gloria Ray Karlmark, Thelma Mothershed Wair, and Melba Pattillo Beals – attempted to attend Little Rock Central High School but were blocked by Governor Orval Faubus and a mob of white protestors.

Integration Efforts

The integration efforts led by the Little Rock Nine were met with hostility from white supremacists who believed that desegregation would lead to the downfall of their society. Despite facing verbal and physical abuse on a daily basis from both their peers and adults alike, the Little Rock Nine persevered with their efforts to attend school.

President Eisenhower Intervenes

President Dwight D. Eisenhower eventually intervened by federalizing the Arkansas National Guard and sending them to protect the students while they attended school. This move was controversial at the time as it marked one of the first times that federal troops had been deployed to enforce civil rights laws since Reconstruction.

The Significance

The Little Rock Nine event was significant for several reasons. It highlighted the resilience and bravery of those who fought against segregation laws and paved the way for future civil rights movements. It also showcased the importance of federal intervention in enforcing constitutional rights and protecting individuals from discrimination.


Today, the Little Rock Nine are regarded as heroes of the Civil Rights Movement and their legacy continues to inspire people around the world to fight for equality and justice. Their efforts helped to bring about significant changes in American society, including the desegregation of schools and public spaces.

  • Integration efforts were met with hostility from white supremacists.
  • The Little Rock Nine persevered despite facing verbal and physical abuse.
  • President Eisenhower intervened by federalizing National Guard troops.
  • The event highlighted resilience, bravery, and importance of federal intervention.


In conclusion, the Little Rock Nine event was a pivotal moment in American history that encapsulated the struggle for civil rights during a time when segregation was still prevalent. The bravery and perseverance of these nine students helped to change society for the better and their legacy continues to inspire future generations.