October 4, 1941 - Elizabeth Eckford was born
"On September 4, 1957, Elizabeth Eckford walked to this door for her first day of school, utterly alone. She was turned away by people who were afraid of change, instructed by ignorance, hating what they simply could not understand. And America saw her, haunted and taunted for the simple color of skin, and in the image caught a very disturbing glimpse of ourselves." - President Clinton
At age 15, Elizabeth was one of the first black students to be permitted to enter a segregated Little Rock Central High as a result of the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka case. 9 black students were accepted into the school but were not welcomed by mobs of white people who violently protesting outside the school.
On the first day of admission into the school, she arrived alone, in a brand new homemade dress, unaware that the other 8 students were arriving together. Rifles were pointed at her face by guards ‘protecting’ the school and she was refused entry. She was eventually given protection by means of 1000 federal troops and was allowed into the school, being the first black teenage women in history to attend a primarily white school.
Happy 70th birthday, Elizabeth!