Little Rock Nine and Out Of My Mind A Multi-media Presentation by Molly Murphy

Because Melody and Elizabeth both integrated schools, they taught the world around them that the underestimated are, without a doubt, more powerful than most think.

Melody is a young girl with cerebral palsy. She can’t walk or talk, but she can think. Every sound she hears is nailed into her brain, never to disappears. When Melody's school begins to bring her and the other disabled kids into classes with normal kids, Melody is so excited. She first gets a medi-talker which helps her talk to the kids and fit in, and then she takes a practice for a quiz team that one of her teachers runs. She scores a 100% on the test and then she and her family are on the run to make her a quiz kid. She makes it into the finals and is famous because of her disability, but the other kids don’t like that she gets all the attention and don’t like that she is disabled.

Theme

Melody is a young girl with cerebral palsy. She can’t walk or talk, but she can think. Every sound she hears is nailed into her brain, never to disappears. When Melody's school begins to bring her and the other disabled kids into classes with normal kids, Melody is so excited. She first gets a medi-talker which helps her talk to the kids and fit in, and then she takes a practice for a quiz team that one of her teachers runs. She scores a 100% on the test and then she and her family are on the run to make her a quiz kid. She makes it into the finals and is famous because of her disability, but the other kids don’t like that she gets all the attention and don’t like that she is disabled.

In the Brown vs Board of Education trial of 1954, the Supreme Court voted for the full integration of schools. Now all they needed was a school system to test it out. The principal of Little Rock, Arkansas’s Central High School volunteered her school system for the cause. She put it up as an option in the school for black students in Little Rock. Many volunteered, hoping it would help their future, but the school system chose 9- Minnijean Brown, Terrance Roberts, Elizabeth Eckford, Ernest Green, Thelma Mothershed, Melba Pattillo, Gloria Ray, Jefferson Thomas, and Carlotta Walls.
On September 4th, 1957 the Little Rock Nine was welcomed to the school by a mob of protestors. The one person who was really put on the spot was Elizabeth Eckford. She arrived alone and was extremely confused on what was going on. She thought that she was meant to go in but the Arkansas National Guard wouldn’t let her through. Elizabeth stood in the middle of the mob, trying to get to the bus, all while people were screaming extremely offensive things at her. Thankfully, her and the rest of the Little Rock Nine made it home safely, though that moment stuck in Americans minds for many months.
Elizabeth Eckford was the center of attention when Hazel Bryan and the rest of the mob were yelling at her. In that moment, she was really confused. Because she had no phone and wasn’t aware of the Arkansas National Guard being there to keep her out, she thought she would be let in like any other student. However, when she tried to get past the guards, they pushed her away. As she said herself- “It was only then that I realized that they were barring me, that I wouldn’t go to school." Elizabeth than thought, “Safety to me meant getting to that bus stop. It seemed like I sat there for a long time before the bus came. In the meantime, people were screaming behind me what I would have described as a crowd before, to my ears sounded like a mob."

Melba Pattillo, one of the other members of the Little Rock Nine, had her own experience the morning of September 4th, 1957.

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Hazel Bryan, the girl who was yelling at Elizabeth with all she had, was immediately proud of this photo when it landed in newspapers all over the country. She wanted people to know what she believed in. She was proud of her narrowed eyes, furrowed brows, and clenched teeth. Hazel, as a proud, attention-seeking teenager was happy that the face of anger and defiance was hers for the world to see. Although she liked it then, she has changed her opinions today. As she said to Elizabeth in later years, It’s very hard for me to sit there and listen to you, Elizabeth. It’s very hard for me… and if there’s anything I could give you… if I could take it back… if I could…” Hazel is clearly regretful of it today, and she has shown that by becoming more politically active for black peoples rights.
President Dwight D Eisenhower

Dwight D Eisenhower, the president of the United States at the time, wasn't exactly a believer of desegregation. When the news of the events of September 4, 1957 came to him, he was forced to take action. As he said himself, “All parents must have a sympathetic understanding of the ordeal to which the nine Negro children who have been prevented from attending Central High School have been subjected. They and their parents have conducted themselves with dignity and with restraint. As I said this morning, I am confident that the citizens of the City of Little Rock and the State of Arkansas will welcome this opportunity to demonstrate that in their city and in their state proper orders of a United States Court will be executed promptly and without disorder.” Eisenhower didn't believe in segregation, but as the President he had to be loyal to the Supreme Court decision. He announced that he would have the Arkansas National Guard removed.

There were many different views in that moment in US history, and all of them were changed from that day on.

The Little Rock Nine continued to attend school at Central High once the 101st Airborne came to escort them. All of them were successful that year and Ernest Green became the first black high schooler to graduate from a de-segregated high school.

Today the Little Rock Nine is recognized for the great deed they did for millions of black students around the country, and for the help they gave to the public school system today.

Works Cited

“Black History Month Gives Us the Opportunity to Look at History from a Variety of Perspectives.” Multiple Perspectives Useful to Analyze History, like Little Rock Nine, www.chicagonow.com/gifted-matters/2013/02/black-history-month-gives-us-the-opportunity-to-look-at-history-from-a-variety-of-perspectives/.

“Dwight D Eisenhower.” Good Free Photos, www.goodfreephotos.com/people/dewight-d-eisenhower-portrait.jpg.php.

“Elizabeth Eckford.” Famous Photographs, www.famouspictures.org/elizabeth-eckford-at-little-rock/.

“Elizabeth Eckford.” Http://Www.kywcrh.org, www.kywcrh.org/archives/2402.

“Elizabeth Eckford.” Vanity Fair, www.vanityfair.com/news/2007/09/littlerock200709.

History.com Staff. “Integration of Central High School.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2010, www.history.com/topics/black-history/central-high-school-integration.

“In Her Own Words: Elizabeth Eckford.” Facing History and Ourselves, www.facinghistory.org/resource-library/her-own-words-elizabeth-eckford.

“Little Rock Nine.” Marquette University, www.marquette.edu/littlerocknine/.

“Little Rock Nine Statue.” The Little Rock Nine in Now 8, thisblksistaspage.wordpress.com/2010/09/06/the-little-rock-nine-are-now-eight-the-ancestors-bring-home-jefferson-thomas/.

“Little Rock.” University of Arkansas, pryorcenter.uark.edu/event.php?thisEvent=2010APA&eventdisplayName=2010%20Arkansas%20Preservation%20Awards.

Margolick, David. “Elizabeth Eckford and Hazel Bryan: the Story behind the Photograph That Shamed America.” The Telegraph, Telegraph Media Group, www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/8813134/Elizabeth-Eckford-and-Hazel-Bryan-the-story-behind-the-photograph-that-shamed-America.html.

“Melba Pattillo Beals.” Melba Pattillo Beals- Little Rock Nine, sites.google.com/site/littlerockninenew/melba-pattillo-beals.

“Melba Pattillo Beals.” PBS LearningMedia, cptv.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/iml04.soc.ush.civil.beals/melba-pattillo-beals/.

“Out of My Mind Book Cover.” Amazon.com, www.amazon.com/Out-My-Mind-Sharon-Draper/dp/1416971718.

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