Little Rock Nine at 40th Anniversary Celebration: (Will Counts Collection: Indiana University Archives)

The Little Rock Nine Since 1957

The Little Rock Nine; attorney Christopher Mercer Jr.; publishers and NAACP civil rights activists L.C. Bates and Daisy Bates are the 2012 honorees for the 2nd Annual Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail and Commemoration. The aforementioned are being honored due to their dedication to obtaining equal rights in education in Arkansas during the integration of Central High School.

The Little Rock Nine

Melba Pattillo Beals, earned a bachelor of arts degree and a masters degree in journalism from San Francisco State University and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York respectively. She was first of the Little Rock Nine to write a book, “Warriors Don’t Cry” based on her experiences in 1957. Read more>>>

Elizabeth Ann Eckford was fifteen years old when she volunteered to help integrate Central High School. Because the city’s high schools were closed the following year, “The Lost Year,”Eckford took correspondence and night courses. She earned enough credits to receive her diploma. She attended Knox College and later Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. Eckford has a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. She also served in the U.S. Army. Read more>>>

Ernest Gideon Green, the only member of the Little Rock Nine who was a senior, became the first African American to graduate from Central High School May 27, 1958. Green went on to earn a bachelor’s in social science and a master’s degree in sociology from Michigan State University. He served as the director for the A. Philip Randolph Education Fund from 1968 to 1977, and was appointed as the Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Affairs during the Jimmy Carter administration. Read more>>>

Gloria Ray Kalmark registered to attend Central High for her junior year. After the 1957-58 school year, she completed her high school education in Kansas City, Missouri, since no high schools were open in Little Rock during “The Lost Year.” After receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and mathematics, she went on to work for International Business Machine’s (IBM) Nordic Laboratory in Stockholm, Sweden, Philips Telecommunications in Hilversum, and Philips Lighting in Eindhoven. Read more>>>

Carlotta Walls LaNier, the youngest member of the Little Rock Nine, was inspired by Rosa Parks when she decided to enroll in Central High School as a sophomore. She returned to Central High once the schools were reopened after “The Lost Year” and graduated in 1960. She  earned a bachelor of science degree, worked at the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), and founded her own real estate brokerage firm. Read more>>>

Terrence James Roberts was a sophomore at Horace Mann High School when he volunteered to integrate Central High. Roberts moved to Los Angeles, during “The Lost Year” and graduated from Los Angeles High School in 1959. Roberts went on to earn a Ph.D. in psychology from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. He is a professor  and maintains a private psychology practice. As CEO of Terrence J. Roberts and Associates Management Consulting Firm, he counsels organizations on equitable practices in both industry and business including serving as a desegregation consultant to the Little Rock School District. Read more>>>

Jefferson Allison Thomas (1942–2010), was the youngest of seven children and a track athlete at all-black Horace Mann High School in Little Rock prior to the integration of Central High School. He returned to Central High the after “The Lost Year” and graduated in 1960. He received a degree in business administration and served as an Infantry Squad Leader for the U.S. Army in the Vietnam War. Thomas worked as a civil servant for more than 27 years. He retired from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service in 2004. Read more>>>

Minnijean Brown Trickey, like the other members of the Little Rock Nine experienced verbal and physical harassment throughout the school year. Though Trickey was first suspended, and then expelled, for retaliating against the daily torment, she received a scholarship to New York’s New Lincoln School in Manhattan and graduated in 1959. She has a master’s degree in social work and is an activist who has worked tirelessly on behalf of social issues. Read more>>>

Thelma Mothershed Wair was a junior when she enrolled at Central High. She continued her education during the “The Lost Year,” by attending summer school in St. Louis, Missouri, and taking correspondence courses. She graduated from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 1964 with a bachelors degree in home economics and later earned a Master of Science degree in Guidance and Counseling Education. She taught in the East St. Louis school system for twenty-eight years. Read more>>>

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