Christians in Racial Crisis: A Study of Little Rock's Ministry

Christians in Racial Crisis: A Study of Little Rock's Ministry

Christians in Racial Crisis: A Study of Little Rock's Ministry

Christians in Racial Crisis: A Study of Little Rock's Ministry

Excerpt

This book is in effect a report on the predicament and behavior of the ministers of Little Rock, Arkansas. It is concerned primarily with what they did and why during the school desegregation crisis that engulfed their city in the period 1957-58. Our report is based on an intensive social science investigation that began in October 1957 and extended through December 1958. The basic data are derived from first-hand observations and repeated interviews with 42 ministers and rabbis in Little Rock. Included in this group are religious leaders who are segregationists as well as integrationists; some became deeply involved in the recent crisis, others remained detached.

It is well to recall the fateful events that initially aroused the nation's concern in the fall of 1957. Little Rock's school board had long been on record with its intent to comply with the Supreme Court decision of May 17, 1954, and a small number of Negro students expected to enroll in Central High School on Tuesday morning, September 3, 1957. But on Monday, September 2, the Arkansas National Guard surrounded the high school under orders from Governor Faubus, and on Wednesday, September 4, the Guard refused to permit nine Negro students to enter. On Friday, September 20, Federal Judge Davies directed Governor Faubus to stop interfering with integration at Central High. The Guard was withdrawn, and on Monday, September 23, the Negro students entered the school. But the threats of an angry mob outside led to the withdrawal of the Negro children under police escort before the end of the school day. The 101st Airborne Division of the U. S. Army arrived in Little Rock the following day under direct orders from President Dwight Eisenhower to enforce the decrees of the Federal Courts. The Negro students returned to Central High under soldier escort on Wednesday, September 25; eight of them completed the school year there. Military units remained on guard until the close of the school year in the late spring of 1958. The conflict was renewed the following fall when the city's high schools were closed to prevent continued racial integration.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.