The Arkansas Times reported recently that a Little Rock Central High student had come up with the idea to bid for the campus as a site to plant a sprig from the chestnut tree that Anne Frank observed daily from her Amsterdam hiding place during World War II.
Central High has been chosen. Also, the William J. Clinton Foundation.
Through saplings descended from the majestic horse chestnut tree that gave her so much pleasure in her bleak hideout, Anne Frank will soon have her story joined with that of the Little Rock Nine — the black students who integrated an Arkansas high school under the guard of 1,200 soldiers in 1957.
The school, Little Rock Central High School, is one of 11 sites dedicated to fighting intolerance that have been chosen by the Anne Frank Center USA in Lower Manhattan as the destination for saplings that originated from the tree in Amsterdam, now 150 years old.
In Little Rock, the sapling will be placed between two trees that were there in 1957. John Allen Riggins, the Little Rock senior who initiated his school’s application, said he was spurred to try to bring the sapling over because “we don’t often see the immediate impact that young people have on social issues.”
“It’s really moving that they shared that common bond,” he said of Anne and the Little Rock Nine. “Even thousands of miles across the world, it was the same idea.”
The White House, the World Trade Center site and a children's museum in Indianapolis that has an exhibit on courageous children are among 11 sites chosen for planting the saplings.
The Clinton Presidential Center, home to his Foundation, was chosen as a planting site "because of Mr. Clinton’s and the foundation’s commitment to social justice."