American pacifist James Zwerg after being beaten by a mob in Montgomery, Alabama in 1960 as part of the Freedom Riders. Zwerg volunteered to leave the bus first upon arriving in Montgomery, knowing he’d be the blunt of the violent crowd’s aggression. He would have died that day if an anonymous black man hadn’t stepped in and saved his life by deflecting the mob’s attention to himself.
A Refresher… lest we forget.
Tuesday, Sept 4: “Little Rock Nine” Denied Entrance to School
On this day in 1957, the “Little Rock Nine,” a group of African American high school students, unsuccessfully attempted to pass through angry crowds to integrate Central High School in Arkansas. Governor Orval Faubus had called out the National Guard to prevent them from entering the school.
Later that month, the students finally were able to enter the school under the protection of paratroopers dispatched by President Dwight Eisenhower.
Explore American Experience’s photo gallery from the southern school desegregation years of 1957-1962.
Photo: U.S. Troops escort African American students from Central High School, Little Rock, Arkansas on October 3, 1957 (Library of Congress).