Civil Rights, Little Rock Letters

The Supreme Court decision to desegregate public schools, Brown v. Board of Education (1954), did not end segregation immediately. The conflict in Arkansas between federal courts ordering desegregation and state governments refusing to allow it became national and even international news in 1957. Orval Faubus, the governor of Arkansas, refused to allow nine African American high school students to enroll at Little Rock Central High School on September 5, 1957 citing dangers to public safety. In response, President Dwight Eisenhower authorized the 101st Airborne Division to ensure that the court order was carried out.

Sending U.S. troops to enforce a federal court ruling on school desegregation was an unprecedented step. The conflict in Little Rock represented a constitutional crisis that divided the country as both the state and federal government claimed the right to decide if schools could desegregate. President Eisenhower faced a difficult decision to take public opinion into account while still pursuing what he felt was the right course of action under the law. Hundreds of letters were written to President Dwight D. Eisenhower during the Little Rock Crisis on both sides of the issue. Eisenhower balanced what he saw as his legal duties as president with the opinions and beliefs of the people of the United States.

  1. Letter to DDE from Rick Adam, Oct 3, 1957
  2. Letter to Henry Roemer McPhee from Bridger B. Allen Against School Integration, November 26, 1957
  3. Letter to President Dwight D Eisenhower from John W. Armstrong Favor of School Integration, October 8, 1957
  4. Letter to President Dwight D. Eisenhower from Ava Johnson Aycock Against Desegregation, October 10, 1957
  5. Letter to President Dwight D. Eisenhower from Charles W. Albright Against School Integration, October 14, 1957
  6. Letter to President Dwight D. Eisenhower from Frederick B. Austin Against School Integration, October 10, 1957
  7. Letter to President Dwight D. Eisenhower from H. E. Anderson Regarding Integration, October 10, 1957
  8. Letter to President Dwight D. Eisenhower from Ira L. Aldridge In Favor of School Integration, November 1, 1957
  9. Letter to President Dwight D. Eisenhower from Mrs. Jane Adkins Regarding the Integration of Schools, October 9, 1957
  10. Letter to President Dwight D. Eisenhower from Mrs. W. D. Alexander Against School Integration, September 25, 1957
  11. Letter to President Dwight D. Eisenhower from Sarah Anderson In Favor of School Integration, October 12, 1957
  12. Letter to President Dwight D. Eisenhower from Seventeen Year Old Elaine Atwood In Favor of School Integration, October 1957
  13. Letter to President Dwight D. Eisenhower from W. D. Arnold Regarding Integration, October 25, 1957
  14. Letter, Byron de la Beckwith to President Eisenhower in favor of segregation, September 12, 1958
  15. Telegram to DDE from Mary McGwin Anderson, Oct 1, 1957