Leaders & Controversies

Transcript: Source2

Extract on “Racial troubles at Little Rock”, a telegram sent to the British Foreign Office from their embassy in Washington, 26 September 1957
(Catalogue ref: FO 371/126719)

On September 20 a Federal District Court enjoined Governor Faubus from obstructing desegregation of Little Rock Central High school. The Governor then withdrew the National Guardsmen whom he had previously ordered to prevent the admission of negro children. On September 23 the entry of nine negro students led to ugly disturbances. A mob of about 1,000 whites outside the school assaulted a number of negroes. The local white police made only half-hearted attempts to control the mob, which became so threatening that the Mayor decided to remove the negro students. President Eisenhower at once issued a proclamation ordering all concerned to desist from wilful obstruction to Court orders. On September 24, the President signed an Executive Order which noted that the obstruction continued; directed the Secretary of Defence to take into United States service units of the National Guard in Arkansas; instructed him to enforce the orders of the Federal District Court; and authorized him to make use of the regular armed forces of the United States. On September 25 no less than 1,000 paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division were on duty as the nine negro students again entered school.