The late Daisy Bates signed an almost-perfect copy of the Little Rock Nine edition of Life Magazine.
After the nine black students were selected to attend Central High Mrs. Daisy Bates would be with them every step of the way. Bates guided and advised the nine students, known as the Little Rock Nine, when they attempted to enroll in 1957 at Little Rock Central High School, a previously all-white institution. The students’ attempts to enroll provoked a confrontation with Governor Orval Faubus, who called out the National Guard to prevent their entry. White mobs met at the school and threatened to kill the black students; these mobs harassed not only activists but also northern journalists who came to cover the story.
Daisy Bates used her organizational skills to plan a way for the nine students to get into Central High. She planned for ministers to escort the children into the school, two in front of the children and two behind. She thought that not only would they help protect the children physically but having ministers accompany them would “serve as powerful symbols against the bulwark of segregation.” Bates continued with her task of helping the nine enroll in school. She spoke with their parents several times throughout the day to make sure they knew what was going on. She joined the parent-teacher organization, even though she did not have a student enrolled in school. She was persistent and realized that she needed to dominate the situation in order to succeed.
The pandemonium at Central High School caused superintendent Virgil Blossom to dismiss school that first day of desegregation, and the crowds dispersed. U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower intervened by federalizing the Arkansas National Guard and dispatching the 101st Airborne Division to Little Rock to ensure that the court orders were enforced. The troops maintained order, and desegregation proceeded. In the 1958-1959 school year, however, public schools in Little Rock were closed in another attempt to roll back desegregation. That period is known as “The Lost Year” in Arkansas.
Photos of Daisy Bates are not included in the collection, only Life Magazine (with autograph).