Today we took a trip back in time when we visited Little Rock Central High School.
Some of you might remember watching the historic events that unfolded in September, 1957 on television.
And for others, you most likely learned about this high school in history class.
So when we decided to stay in Little Rock, Arkansas for a couple of days, we knew that we had to make a trip to Central High School.
What You Need To Know Before You Go
However, before we headed out to the school itself, there were a few things to take note of.
First, Central High School is still an active high school. More than 2,000 students attend the school today.
Therefore, you just can’t walk into the high school to have a look around.
However there is a National Historic Site Visitor Center across the street from the school.
This building is home to a self-guided museum, dedicated to the history of the desegregation crisis at Little Rock Central High School.
As you walk through the museum you can read about the horrific events that occurred during that time period. And you can even watch several news coverage videos from that era as the events unfolded.
But what is most important to know is that if you want an actual guided tour that takes you through the high school, you must schedule that tour at least 48 hours in advance!
We were lucky enough to have planned just enough time to be able to take the tour lead by a National Parks Ranger.
And what a tour it was! Although we can’t possibly go into all of the details of what we learned, here is a quick overview of the tour.
Little Rock Central High School Tour
The first part of the tour is completed at the visitor center. Here a Ranger takes you back into time and reviews a bit of history. The focus is on how the 13th and 14th amendments came about.
And how the term ‘separate but equal’ wasn’t truly happening in Little Rock, and definitely not in the school system.
The second part of the tour takes you outdoors on the corner where a Mobil Gas Station once stood.
Here is where the news stations were positioned when the riots were occurring in front of the Central High School.
And across the street is where the first black student was dropped off to face thousands of angry white people. The protestors were yelling horrible things at her and even spitting in her face as she walked down the street, simply to go to school.
Entering The School
Finally we made the same long walk that she did and walked up the steps and into the school itself. Due to privacy concerns of the current students, no photos were allowed to be taken inside the building.
The last part of the tour focused on not what you saw on the news with the students eventually being escorted into the building by Army’s 101st Airborne.
It was all about what occurred when the Little Rock 9 had to attend school in an all white school who didn’t want them there.
The details that we learned were horrific. And we both couldn’t have more respect for the students that risked their lives every day for the right to have the same education as anyone else.
The entire tour took about 2 hours, but will have a lifetime impact on us. We would highly recommend that you plan on visiting Little Rock Central High School and taking the guided tour.
It is simply life changing and a history lesson that everyone should experience.
- 3 out of the original 9 students graduated from Central High School.
- The school was shut down in 1958 in protest of having black students attend a white school
- The Little Rock School System wasn’t fully integrated until 1972
Happy Traveling – Jim and Mary
CURRENT TRIP STATUS TO DATE:
- Day 136 of 365
- States : 17/50
- National Parks / Monuments : 20
- Stayed In : Maumelle, AR
- Miles Driven : 45.2
- Total Trip Miles To Date : 15,227.3
- Total Gallons Used : 1,095.49
- Biking Miles : 0.0
- Biking Miles To Date : 158.4
- Hiking Miles : 1.6
- Hiking Miles To Date : 306.4
On September 9th, 2019, we set out in our NuCamp T@B 400 Teardrop Camper to travel to every state. You can check out all of our dates here : Dates for the States
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