On this dayFeb 09, 1960

The Little Rock Nine

Video | Marquette University

In September 1957, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus ordered the Arkansas National Guard to prevent the integration of Little Rock's Central High School by barring nine newly admitted Black students from entering the school building. In order to compel the school's integration, President Dwight Eisenhower federalized the National Guard and ordered troops to escort the students into the school. That group of Black students came to be known as the Little Rock Nine, and fourteen-year-old Carlotta Walls was the youngest among them.

Carlotta Walls later described the integration experience as "painful" and recalled that Central High's white students fell into three groups: those who tormented her and the other Black students; those who sympathized with them; and those who silently ignored the way they were treated.

Young Carlotta Walls remained at Central throughout her high school years. On February 9, 1960, four weeks before graduation, a bomb exploded at her home. Walls, her mother, and her sister were at home but no one was injured. Police arrested and beat Carlotta Wall's father in unsuccessful efforts to coerce a confession. Police then arrested two young Black men, Herbert Monts, a family friend, and Maceo Binns, Jr. Carlotta Walls never believed either man was responsible, but both were convicted and sentenced to five years in prison.

In 2010, Ms. Walls described the bombing and its aftermath as the worst part of the integration experience, and firmly asserted that "the segregationists were behind all of it–the bombing and the arrests of Herbert and Maceo."

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