Rebel Theatrical Management, LLC
              Presents

little rock
             Written and Directed by                                                                                                                                    
         RAJENDRA RAMOON MAHARAJ
                                                                              

A National Crisis

"They persevered, they endured, and they prevailed, but it was at a great cost to themselves ... Like so many Americans, I can never fully repay my debt to these nine people, because, with their innocence, they purchased more freedom for me, too, and for all white people."            
President William Jefferson Clinton
Sept 25, 1997 on 40th Anniversary of Little Rock Nine Integration

The 1954 Brown vs Board of Education Supreme Court Decision made segregation in public schools illegal across the United States. Though a moderate southern city, Little Rock, the capitol of Arkansas, was steeped in the Jim Crow South. Governor Orval Faubus, staunchly opposed to the integration of Little Rock Central High School ignited a firestorm of resistance by calling out the state militia to block access to the school and threatening "Blood Will Run In The Streets" if the negro students attempted to enter on that first fateful day of September 4, 1957.


Over the course of the next 21 days, President Eisenhower and the Governor debated the inevitability of nine black students co-educating with white students in the public classrooms of Arkansas and the need to comply with federal law.

Governor Faubus' position, playing to the electorate, was one of gradual integration over an extended period of time. To reinforce that position, he ordered the Arkansas National Guard to surround Little Rock Central High to keep black students from entering on September 4, 1957.

President Eisenhower, as the former WWII Commander once opposed to the integration of troops -- now as Commander-in-Chief, stood prepared to enforce the Supreme Court decision.

What had become known as a national crisis, the scenes in Little Rock played out in newspapers, magazines and on television sets and radios across America and around the world.


The Presidential/Gubernatorial stand-off ended on the morning of September 25th, 1957.

President Eisenhower in a televised message from the Oval Office the evening before, ordered 1,000 paratroopers from the 101st Airborne "Screaming Eagles" into Little Rock and federalized the 10,000 Arkansas National Guard to protect the nine black students as they entered school the next morning.
It was the first time since Reconstruction that federal troops were ordered into the South.



Though the decision ended the stand-off -- it was just the opening act.

What happened during the course of the 1957-1958 school year has been culled from personal interviews with members of The Little Rock Nine, locals and others. For the first time, its being told as a collective narrative for the stage.

 
New York City Mayor Robert Wagner greeting the Little Rock Nine in New York, 1958.
World Telegram photo by Walter Alberti


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Fateful First Day
On September 4, 1957, isolated from the other students, Elizabeth Eckford was met by an angry mob after being refused entry to Little Rock Central High School by the Arkansas National Guard. This photo, captured by a young photographer, Will Counts, became one of the most iconic reflections of racial hatred in the South that would be published around the world.