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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The Little Rock Nine
Segment 3
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And then in direct response to the Governor's defiance, a federal court ordered desegregation to proceed in Little Rock. September 23 was to be the first day of integration. That morning a large group of angry citizens assembled outside Central High School. And then, an eruption took place Check The Source - Little Rock Crisis. The Associated Press reported it this way: Hear It Now - Associated Press "It was exactly like an explosion, a human explosion. At 8:35 a.m., the people standing in front of the high school looked like the ones you see every day in a shopping center. Five minutes later, at 8:40, they were a mob—the terrifying spectacle of 200-odd individuals, suddenly welded together into a single body, took place in the barest fraction of a second. It was an explosion, savagery chain-reacting from person to person, fusing them into a white-hot mass."

Melba Pattillo later wrote about her experience. She said, Hear It Now - Melba Pattillo "The first day I was able to enter Central High School, what I felt inside was terrible, wrenching, awful fear. On the car radio I could hear that there was a mob. I knew that the sounds that came from the crowd were very angry. So we entered the side of the building, very, very fast. Even as we entered there were people running after us, people tripping other people Check The Source - Melba Pattillo Speaks Out."

With the mob vowing to lynch the young blacks, local police stepped in and removed the students from the building. Integration in Little Rock had lasted just part of a morning.

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Did You Know?
Ernest Green went on to become vice president of a New York investment firm.

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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