by Max Brantley
Momentous story and headline at the top of New York Times' front page on this date in 1957. It's remembered here in a Times educational feature. Powerful reporting from the NY Times' Benjamin Fine.
And what has 50 years brought us? That is going to be much discussed in the next few weeks. With a lot of disagreement certain.
UPDATE: Someone who read the old NY Times article learned for the first time of the kindness shown to Elizabeth Eckford by Grace Lorch, wife of a Philander Smith faculty member. There's more to the uncommon story of the Lorches, which you can read here. And, from Boston Globe, still a little more on Grace Lorch:
Q: I read a memoir of the civil rights era in the 1960s South that mentioned a Grace Lorch of Boston as if she had some fame to her name. Did she? -- M.B., Dorchester
A: A check with the very institution cited above, the Bostonian Society, reveals that while she was teaching at the Charles Taylor School in Boston in 1943, Grace Lonergan Lorch became the first woman to challenge Boston's 19th-century policy requiring the resignation of female teachers upon marriage, a challenge that ultimately bore fruit. Unwilling to see her students suffer, Lorch continued to teach her class at a substitute teacher's salary. A lifelong activist for educational and civil rights, according to the society, Lorch later moved to Tennessee with her family. She received national attention in 1957 when she rescued a young girl from an angry crowd protesting the desegregation of public schools in Little Rock, Ark.
And this is a good place to mention a UALR-UAF history symposium on the Central crisis. It begins here Thursday.