The U.S. Supreme Court issued its historic Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, 347 U.S. 483, on May 17, 1954, calling for the desegregation of all schools. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) attempted to register black students in previously all-white schools in cities throughout the South. In Little Rock, the capital city of Arkansas, the Little Rock School Board agreed to comply with the high court’s ruling. Virgil Blossom, the Superintendent of Schools, submitted a plan of gradual integration to the school board on May 24, 1955, which the board unanimously approved. The plan would be implemented the 1957 school year; September 1957. The Little Rock Nine were a group of African-American students enrolled in the Little Rock Central High School for the 1957 school year. The students were prevented from entering the school by Arkansas National Guard troops under orders from Orval Faubus, the Governor of Arkansas. President Dwight D. Eisenhower federalized the Arkansas National Guard, ordered them to stand down, and ordered the 101st Airborne to Little Rock to enforce school desegregation. That episode of desegregation is the subject of Kasey S. Pipes’ book Ike’s Final Battle: The Road to Little Rock and the Challenge of Equality. Your assignment is to read that book. Then, write an essay about race relations in America of that period (1950 -1960) that incorporates the concepts of integration versus segregation, the ideological positions of Eisenhower and Faubus regarding segregation in 1950’s America. Your essay must include both views and what effects it would have on race relations of the era. You must also include your opinion of which policy; integration or segregation, would work best in the society of that period. The essay must be at least five (5) paragraphs, describe the ideological positions of Eisenhower and Faubus, and include your opinion of the “best” or “only” policy and why your policy choice; either integration or segregation of schools in the South, would be the better policy.
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