Freedom: A History of US.
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Webisode 14: Let Freedom Ring
Introduction Segment 1 Segment 2 Segment 3 Segment 4 Segment 5 Segment 6 Segment 7

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Education Without Mixing
Segment 3
The dispute over Central High Central High

In 1957, three years after the Supreme Court announced its decision in Brown v. Broad of Education to outlaw segregated schools, there still weren't any classrooms in the Deep South where blacks and whites sat together See It Now - "Education Without Mixing". Central High in Little Rock, Arkansas was one of the South's finest public schools and had more than 2,000 students. But not one black child had ever gone to Central High when a modest experiment in integration was about to begin. Melba Pattillo wanted to go to Central High. She wrote, Hear It Now - Melba Pattillo "I understood education before I understood anything else. From the time I was two, my mother said, 'Education is your key to survival.' "

Fifteen-year-old Melba Pattillo had no "overwhelming desire to change history." She just wanted to go to a good school, and she was one of nine black children picked to integrate Central High See It Now - "The Little Rock Nine". She didn't expect problems. Neither did most people. But some citizens were determined to fight integration. And local lawmakers, who could have helped the situation, didn't. Arkansas's governor, Orval Faubus See It Now - Governor Orval Faubus, vowed he would keep the nine Little Rock students out of Central High. Faubus knew that backing integration would hurt him amongst white voters, but opposing it wouldn't hurt him at all, because blacks couldn't vote in his state. That's why he called in the Arkansas militia.

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At first when Orval Faubus ordered in the Arkansas National Guard, also known as the Arkansas militia, most people thought the guardsmen were to protect the students from harm. But they were in fact to keep the black students out of the school.

Did you know that Freedom is adapted from the award-winning Oxford University Press multi-volume book series, A History of US by Joy Hakim?

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