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#TBT: Cooper v. Aaron

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You may have heard of the Little Rock Nine while covering the integration of schools after the Brown v. Board of Education decision. The Little Rock Nine were the first nine colored students to enroll in Little Rock Central High School pursuant to the Little Rock’s school board integration plan. The first day these nine students showed up to attend Central High School, they were met with resistance from the Arkansas National Guard, who were acting under the Governor at the time. After another day of facing the Arkansas National Guard, the national government procured an injunction that forced the governor to withdraw the Arkansas National Guard. President Eisenhower also sent the federal National Guard to protect the students from mobs and from being prevented from attending the high school.

In February, the school board tried to delay the integrations of the students again, citing “chaos” at their arrival. The lower courts agreed but the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People took the case further. The Court of Appeals agreed with the NAACP as did the Supreme Court. The “chaos” couldn’t possibly account for the refusal to comply with the rights of the Little Rock Nine or the many students that would come after them.

Cooper v. Aaron enforced the decisions of Brown v. Board of Education and provided the teeth that integration needed to make a significant impact. It addressed the problems that would be associated with integration and simultaneously made the nation aware that these problems were no excuse for withholding the rights of American citizens.



McBride, Alex. "Landmark Cases: Cooper v. Aaron." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 4 Aug. 2014. .

Joseph M. Ghabour
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