Little Rock Central High School
Location: 1500 South Park St., Little Rock, Ark.
Significance: Little Rock Nine attended school here, with a little help from the federal government
Though the Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954 mandated the integration of public schools, nine black students were initially denied entry to Little Rock Central High School on the morning of September 23, 1957. Police were necessary to get the Little Rock Nine past the vicious mob waiting outside the school. Inside, violence reached a boiling point and the students were removed. The following day, President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent the 1,200-man 101st Airborne Battle Group of the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division all the way from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to escort the students to school. This move also federalized the 10,000-man Arkansas National Guard, removing them from the control of segregation-supporting Governor Orval Farbus. This moment was a test of the nation's desire to enforce civil rights following the Brown verdict, and gave the battle between Eisenhower and Farbus a national stage.
The school, which was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977, still operates out of the Little Rock School District. Over the past decade, it's been recognized as one of the top high school's in the county and has the oldest charter west of the Mississippi River in the Cum Laude Society. In 1997, President Clinton led a celebration for the 40th anniversary of its desegregation, and also hosted a ceremony a decade later on the 50th anniversary.