Little Rock 1957: Regional

Jun 16, 2017

The events surrounding the 1957 desegregation of Central High School made an impact at a number of levels. At a regional level, the enduring lessons of Little Rock was the futility of directly defying federal court orders, the folly of closing public schools, and the social and economic costs of racial turmoil. Few other governors tried to emulate Gov. Faubus’s actions in obstructing the course of justice and few other business communities wanted to risk the cost of racial conflict. Indeed, the fear of becoming what chambers of commerce across the south directly and shudderingly referred to as “another Little Rock” convinced many business leaders that a more constructive engagement with civil rights issues was required. Little Rock became the regionwide model for how not to handle school desegregation.