On this day 60 years ago, 9 black teenagers were ushered into Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas by 300 U.S. Army soldiers, the day after an unruly crowd of 1,000 white protestors had blocked the students from entering the building. It was the first important test of the U.S. Supreme Court decision (Brown vs. Board of Education) that ordered the integration of public schools. It was also a test of federal power over racism in the south. WATCH a Video… (1957)
The world watched as the “Little Rock Nine” became the focal point of a showdown between Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus, who encouraged the protestors and sent his state troops to keep the students out, and President Dwight Eisenhower, who seized control of the state’s entire 10,000-man National Guard and deployed the 101st Airborne Division from a neighboring state to enforce the law. Today the Little Rock Central High School is a National Historic Landmark.
MORE Good News on this Day:
- Shel Silverstein, poet, singer-songwriter and author of Where the Sidewalk Ends and The Giving Tree was born—expelled from a university for poor academic performance, he also wrote the hit songs, A Boy Named Sue, won a Grammy, while The Cover of Rolling Stone, and The Unicorn (1930)
- The People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria was formally proclaimed (1962)
- Sandra Day O’Connor was sworn in as the first female justice on the U.S. Supreme Court (1981)
- A Florida judge ruled in favor of Gregory Kingsley, a 12-year-old boy seeking a ‘divorce from his biological parents (1992)
Notable Birthdays: Will Smith, 49; Mark Hamill, who played Luke Skywalker turns 66; Michael Douglas, 73; Barbara Walters, 88.
Also on this day, in 1976, the rock band U2 was first formed at drummer Larry Mullen’s Dublin home. A 14-year-old student at Mount Temple Comprehensive School, Mullen posted a note on the school’s notice board in search of musicians for a new band—six people responded. Setting up in his kitchen, Mullen was on drums, with Paul Hewson (Bono) on lead vocals; David Evans (the Edge) on guitar and Adam Clayton on bass. The popularity of punk rock, their biggest influence, convinced the group that musical proficiency was not a prerequisite to being successful.