Positive: An Inspiration

21% Whites / 25% Blacks

  • People are learning to get along a lot better and realizing that we are just people, no matter what we look like, and we should all be treated the same. – White female, 56 years old
  • … The black individuals that were involved are seen as positive role models and respected … anytime we can generate black role models that is very important. – White male, 71 years old
  • A lot of those black students persevered, and it’s a good example for young blacks that even though obstacles come your way you still can achieve what you put your mind to. – Black female, 48 years old

This theme is a broad category that captures a variety of positive takes on the events of Central High, and contains the highest number of comments overall. One of the key components of this category is the notion that integration was the correct and necessary thing to do. It was perceived by some participants to break down barriers and show other people that it is possible to overcome obstacles to fair treatment. As individuals, the Little Rock Nine are seen to provide inspirational role models to others. As an event, the successful resolution of the crisis is seen as a landmark triumph for the civil rights movement.

Other responses within this theme relate to the notion that integration has resulted in better race relations and a decrease in discrimination against / unfair treatment of blacks. There was no significant difference in the number of black and white respondents whose comments form this theme, nor were there any major differences between male and female, or younger and older respondents.