Friday, March 28, 2014

Afro 298 fifth assignment

Little Rock, Arkansas was definitely my favorite place we visited on this trip so far. The film we watched was very powerful because it contained interviews of members of the Little Rock nine in present day. It is evident that what happened in that high school still affects them all to this day. The struggles they went through stick with them through their whole lives. It is tragic what happened to those students, and their voices need to be heard and their story needs to be remembered and used as an inspiration for the continuation of integrating schools today. Many schools in the nation remained socially segregated. This affects Black populations economically and creates even bigger economic disparities between Whites and Blacks. This is not something the Little Rock Nine would tolerate.

It really hit me the hardest when we walked to the high school and stood in front of it. Standing there, I pictured the nine brave souls expecting to be protected by the state troops but instead being harassed by White mobs. The amount of prejudice the nine faced was difficult for me to take in. I cannot imagine what it must have been like to go through this severe form of bullying every day at school. When the tour guide talked about Minnijean, I was very inspired. It took a lot of guts to walk through those hallways each day, being chased down stairs and kicked and spit on by horribly racist White students. And she walked down those hallways like she belonged. I felt very enraged when I found out she was expelled from the school after being treated the way she was. I was also very enraged after learning that one of the nine was chased by a White mob with her mother and could have very well been killed if they had not made it to their car on time. When another one of the nine was walking trough a White mob and the reporter whispered to her not to cry in front of them, it shows just how one little act can really change a person's life. If she would have cried in front of them, they would have seen her as weak, giving them more power.

I don't know how anyone could possibly get over those brutal experiences they encountered at Little Rock Central High School. Hearing that one of the nine has PTSD and has trouble going into the school makes me think of everything that could have been done in order to protect her from the discrimination she faced. Orval Faubus should never have never sent in troops to prevent them from entering the building, and the White mob should never have harassed the nine. Unfortunately, the lack of assistance and aggression towards the vulnerable nine in this story isn't unique. Across the South, the desegregation of schools encountered resistance from racist Whites, but many of the stories were not covered by the media. Those courageous students need to be remembered just as the Little Rock Nine are remembered today.

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