Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Once Again, We Need Ike

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Once Again, We Need Ike

Article excerpt

Looking back at the grainy black and white footage, the struggles of that time seem so far away. Yet looks can be deceiving. America was at a crisis of conscience on race then; it is again today.

The standoff at Central High - with segregationist Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus, and a band of racist thugs on one side, and the black students, President Dwight Eisenhower, and the force of federal law on the other - was a moment when time stood still and a nation held its breath as it decided whether all its citizens would abide by the rule of law.

The law in question was the racial integration of public schools, brought on by the Supreme Court's unanimous Brown decision of 1954 that found the nation's education system at the time "inherently unequal." The question of the "Little Rock Nine" put the notion that Brown laid out to its sternest test, and it was answered by a Republican president with moral certitude and a willingness to lead.

"Mob rule cannot be allowed to override the decisions of our courts," said Eisenhower, the World War II hero and two-term president, in a televised address where he announced that U.S. military troops would be sent in to help with the integration process. "This challenge must be met and with such measures as will preserve to the people as a whole their lawfully-protected rights in a climate permitting their free and fair exercise."

Last Monday, Sept. 25, the anniversary of the nine being allow to enter the school and take classes, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, President Donald Trump's press secretary, read a moving statement in regard to the "Little Rock Nine," and what they accomplished. Sanders, daughter of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, attended the school 20 years ago, and said that "today Central High is one of the most racially diverse and high-achieving schools in Arkansas."

Sanders went on to speak of how important the issue was to Trump, whom she quoted as saying "racism is evil; it has no place in our country. …

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