In August 1957, under court order, Van Buren peacefully desegregated its high school. However, after violent resistance to school desegregation in September 1957 in the state capitol of Little Rock, Van Buren decided that its desegregation had been a mistake. When the school opened in 1958, whites copied Little Rock in holding angry protests, student strikes and trying to intimidate black students into withdrawing. “If it hadn’t been for Little Rock, we wouldn’t have this trouble now,” one school official said. “We had Negroes in the school last year—more than this year—and we didn’t have any trouble.” As in Little Rock, segregationists sought to intimidate the school board and unseat those members who wanted to uphold the law. But the school board stood firm and the high school remained desegregated.
A Case of Mistaken Desegregation: Schools
By John Kirk • Jun 12, 2016