WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today commemorating the 50th anniversary of the integration of Central High School in Little Rock, AR:
“On September 25, 1957, nine brave individuals were escorted into Little Rock Central High School by the 101st Airborne Division of the Army. As they walked up the steps and integrated the school, these nine African-American students forever changed the landscape of American education. The events of that day reverberated across the country, and the impact can still be felt 50 years later.
“The fact that children required an armed escort to enter a place of learning is as shocking today as it was 50 years ago. Nine students just wanted a quality education, equal to that of white students – the equal education that the Brown v. Board of Education decision provided for.
“Today we applaud the courage of the group known as the ‘Little Rock Nine’: Terrance Roberts, Carlotta Walls LaNier, Melba Patillo Beals, Elizabeth Eckford, Ernest Green, Gloria Ray Karlmark, Jefferson Thomas, Minnijean Brown Trickey, and Thelma Mothershed Wair. They were not deterred by the harassment, ignorance, and anger they faced that day, and for the rest of the school year. They handled themselves with dignity, and their actions remain both an example and an inspiration to us today.
“Even though this event took place 50 years ago, our nation’s struggle with discrimination is not yet over. We must not rest until ‘equality for all’ becomes a reality in our schools, in the workplace, and throughout our society.”