You are being watched! Today the world is watching you, the students of Central High. They want to know what your reactions, behavior, and impulses will be concerning a matter now before us. After all, as we see it, it settles now to a matter of interpretation of law and order.
Will you be stubborn, obstinate, or refuse to listen to both sides of the question? Will your knowledge of science help you determine your action or will you let customs, superstition, or tradition determine the decision for you?
This is the chance that the youth of America has been waiting for. Through an open mind, broad outlook, wise thinking, and a careful choice you can prove that America's youth has not "gone to the dogs" that their moral, spiritual, and educational standards are not being lowered. This is the opportunity for you as citizens of Arkansas and students of Little Rock Central High to show the world that Arkansas is a progressive thriving state of wide-awake alert people. It is a state that is rapidly growing and improving its social, health, and educational facilities. That it is a state with friendly, happy, and conscientious citizens who love and cherish their freedom.
It has been said that life is just a chain of problems. If this is true, then this experience in making up your own mind and determining right from wrong will be of great value to you in life.
The challenge is yours, as future adults of America, to prove your maturity, intelligence, and ability to make decisions by how your react, behave, and conduct yourself in this controversial question. What is your answer to this challenge?
Cutline: The NGs " have landed and have the situation well in hand. " All was not work for the National Guard at Central High for the past two weeks. When the parents go home and the girls go to class, what else is there left to do, but sleep?
As we gaze thoughtfully out of our classroom windows, we notice the National Guardsmen who have been so kind as to come and visit us here at Central. Whatever they may be lacking is made up for in variety.
For instance, there is the one who, after taking one last look around, retires to his grassy world of dreams. He can be aroused only by the mention of food or drink.
Then there is the one who likes to be enlightened as to world affairs. So he sits on the ground pouring over a newspaper. Newspapers also serve another purpose in the Campus Military World. On some sections of the campus they become very handy card tables for those who canŐt sleep in the daytime.
But there are a few NG 's who are very conscientious. They march briskly along the sidewalk, head high, shoulders back, weapons akimbo. By the time the day is over, they are ready to be carried home on a stretcher.
Of course, there is the original G.I. Joe. His helmet is usually askew and his face is rough and haggard looking. He won't take any back-talk from ANYBODY!
I really don't know what we did for entertainment before these nice helmeted boys came to our campus.
OTHER HEADLINES OF THIS WEEK'S ISSUE OF THE TIGER: Central Night Watchman Recovering From Illness...2,000 Students Enroll at Central...Brodie Named New Boys' State Leader...LR Key Club Takes Convention Honors...Seniors Are Advised to Watch Grades...Senior Homerooms elect Officers; Get Ready for Big Year.
Nine Negro students attended Little Rock Central High School last week for the first time in history. They arrived at the school Wednesday, September 25, accompanied by crack paratroopers of the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division. An Army station wagon carried the students to the front entrance of the building while an Army helicopter circled overhead and 350 armed paratroopers stood at parade rest around the building.
Never before had Federal troops been used to enforce integration in a public school.
Third Attempt Made
This was the third attempt the Negro students had made to attend classes at Central. For three weeks the Arkansas National Guard had patrolled the school on orders of Governor Orval Faubus. Then on September 20 the troops were withdrawn by the Governor after the Federal Court had issued an injunction requiring him to withdraw the troops.
All was quiet over the week-end at CHS, but on Monday, September 23, eight of the Negro students enrolled at Central. Uncontrolled violence grew so swiftly in the area surrounding the school campus that city law enforcement officers decided it was wise to withdraw the Negro students shortly after noon on the same day.
Federal Troops Arrive
President Eisenhower took unprecedented action on September 24, when he called the Arkansas National Guard into active military service to deal with the Little Rock school integration crisis. President Eisenhower also authorized Secretary of Defense Wilson to use regular Army troops in addition to the National Guard Units.
Accordingly, about 1,000 paratroopers of the 101st Airborne division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, began arriving at the Little Rock Air Force Base on the evening of September 24. They immediately took up positions around the school.
General Advises Students
The Department of the Army designated Major General Edwin A. Walker chief of the Arkansas Military District.
As commander of the troops in the Little Rock area, Major General Walker addressed the student body and explained his position clearly.
All Quiet Within
Halls were quiet within the schools as the Negro students entered. They proceeded to their pre-arranged classes and school work went on just about as usual. At least two dozen soldiers without bayonets patrolled the halls.
Many Central students were absent; of the 2,000 enrolled, about 1,250 attended classes. On Friday the attendance was back up to 1450. At press time it was almost normal.
On the 25th of September, with few words and fixed bayonets, crack paratroopers of the U.S. Army quickly dispersed the crowds that had gathered around Central and carried out the court order for integration. No violent incidents, as had previously occurred, were reported.
No matter what our personal opinions may be, we cannot be proud of the violence that occurred around our school that made it necessary for the use of these Federal troops. Looking back on this year will probably be with regret that integration could not have been accomplished peacefully, without incident, without publicity.
But the future remains.
And with the future remain many questions. Will there be more violence? How long will troop-protected education be necessary? Will our own educations be retarded?
The only answer to all these questions is for each individual to maintain a sensible, peaceful neutrality; to accept the situation without demonstration, no matter what personal views are entertained; and to make these, your years in Little Rock Central High School, the happiest and most fruitful of your academic education.
Just for the sake of the record, let us remind our readers that less than 1% of the population of Little Rock was in the crowd of people gathered in front of CHS when school opened Monday morning, September 23. In addition to that, many of the people in the crowd were not citizens of Little Rock. There was at no time any significant disturbance in the classrooms of the high school. From over the country there were a few photographers and reporters apparently seeking for a juicy morsel in the tense situation.
Again it is the case of where a minority group controlled the actions and even the thoughts of the majority. Wouldn't it be better for parents, townsmen, and strangers to let the law take its course and seek a remedy of the situation in some other way?
Today our society is being challenged in many ways. Communism is not our only enemy. Ignorance and selfishness are equally great dangers and the only protection against all three is that the young people now in our schools meet these challenges and protect those great privileges of freedom and human dignity, payable only in a democratic society.
In most cases the character and knowledge which is so necessary for future successful citizenship in our country is a direct outgrowth of school citizenship. Character is shown by what people do and very few change overnight: so what students do now in school they will probably be doing in adult life. Character and knowledge go hand in hand; one without the other is harmful, sometimes dangerous.
So, students, when you hear us talking about student behavior in the corridors, assembly or cafeteria, of cooperation with your teachers in your class work, of thinking about the other person in your daily contacts at school, of good sportsmanship at athletic events, of safety precautions around the school, and many other such topics, you realize we are trying to set up a situation where you may secure knowledge and develop dependable traits of character through practicing good citizenship in school.
Schools used to think that rigid discipline and text books produced the character and knowledge that future citizenship would require.
The modern school values this heritage but places much emphasis on the development of behavior patterns required in our democratic society and does not take for granted that pupils will develop into good citizens merely because of contact with discipline and text books.
"I am here to execute the President's orders. My men are well trained and determined to carry out orders," said General Edward A. Walker, chief of the Arkansas Military District, to the student body at a special assembly September 24.
Ralph Brodie, president of the student body, called the assembly to order, and Lynn Finch gave the Bible reading. The speaker was introduced by Principal Jess Matthews.
General Walker explained that the Supreme Court order banning segregation, issued in 1955, left up to state and local communities the process of determining how to integrate and how quickly. The Little Rock School Board presented its plan of gradual integration to the federal district court, which gave the solution its approval. Therefore, this integration plan became the law that must be executed.
"You are well intentioned, law-abiding citizens. You need not be afraid of the soldiers," remarked General Walk, "as they will not interfere with the school or its plans." He concluded that those interfering, loitering, or attempting to assemble in large groups would be removed and subject to laws of the city. Soldiers will not bother law-abiding citizens and the only thing that they expect of students and Little Rock residents is co-operation for the benefit of all.
In response to the general's plea, President Ralph Brodie reminded everyone, "Central High students are proud of their athletic and scholastic records. We will be and are good citizens."
Soldiers Work for Order; Leave as Soon as Possible
There are many sides to the integration situation. It would probably be correct to say that there are almost as many sides as there are people. But one side seems to be almost unknown: that is the side of the 101st Airborne.
The Screaming Eagles is a proud group of fighting men, who were reactivated as a unit of the United States fighting machine only a year ago. Already their reputation as a fighting group and a group constantly in readiness for action in any part of the globe is outstanding. It is a reputation that should make every American proud.
But a few people seem to forget. They called the men of the 101st by every name imaginable, and screamed "Hitler tactics" and "Budapest oppression" when these troops were sent to Little Rock. They forget that these men, many of them no older than the high school students they guard, were ordered to Central High by superiors they have sworn to obey, and to protect people they are sworn to protect.
People forget that these men are ready to fly to any part of the earth to defend--perhaps to die for--democracy and the people of the United States.
Some people cannot see these troops as men with families who only want to restore peace to Little Rock and return to their own homes-they see them only as outsiders, uniformed foreigners, who have come to cram integration down their throats.
Captain Barker Talks
Captain Jack Edmund Barker is in charge of public relations and is with the intelligence of the 101st here in Little Rock. A friendly, soft spoken, family man from South Carolina, he drifted into the Central High Journalism Department, where he explained the story of his Screaming Eagles, and gave this reporter a better understanding of their position.
When this reporter commented on the fact that the number of troops around the school had decreased, Capt. Barker's face broke into a smile and he said, "So you noticed that that's what we're trying to do. We want to restore order here with the minimum amount of force and then to withdraw as quickly as possible. We don't want to be obnoxious to the people. These boys (the younger soldiers) want to be--are even eager to be friendly with the students. We don't want to be foreboding. That's why we're trying to slip into the background as much as possible."
This is a condensation of an interview that lasted two hours, but it is basically the 101st side of the question. They're somebody's husband, somebody's son, somebody's boyfriend, and they want to be friendly with the students of Central High; but they were sent here to do a job with a minimum amount of force and as quickly as possible.
But people seem to forget--they're people, too.
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