In February 1958, the Little Rock School Board, under pressure from local businessmen and some of the city’s ruling elite, decided to retreat from their promise to integrate Little Rock schools by filing a lawsuit to ask the federal court to stop integration until 1961. They argued that the violence of 1957 outside and inside the school had made education impossible. In the end, the court sided with the district, and for four months, integration was halted in Little Rock. The upper courts ultimately overturned this decision, so it is usually ignored in narratives of desegregation in Little Rock or at least relegated to a footnote. This lecture contends that the event reveals much about what motivated the ruling elite of Little Rock in how they addressed desegregation in the 1950s and 1960s.
Light refreshments will be served at 7:00 pm, and the lecture begins at 7:30 pm.