Little Rock 1957: International

Jun 16, 2017

The events surrounding the 1957 desegregation of Central High School made an impact at a number of levels. At an international level, it proved a public relations disaster for a country engaged in an effort to win hearts and minds—many of them belonging to people of color—in the Cold War. A number of historians have written about Little Rock’s global impact. Mary Dudziak labels Little Rock “a crisis of such magnitude for worldwide perceptions of race and American democracy that it would become a reference point for the future.” Newspapers around the world reported on events in the city, critics of the United States pointed to the crisis as evidence of the country’s disregard for human rights, and federal officials wrung their hands over the damage done.