The Little Rock Nine Essay Example

During the 1950’s, the Little Rock Nine challenged society’s perspective on education, which introduced conflicts between their life and others. The Little Rock Nine were a group of nine African American schoolchildren, that enrolled in an all-white High school in Little Rock, Arkansas. Before the Little Rock Nine, schools were segregated based on skin color, African Americans and whites would be separated. The scream image was a picture taken of Elizabeth Eckford going to school, integrating with white students for the first time since Brown V. Board of Education passed the legislation. The photograph also displays Hazel Bryan, demonstrating her hatred and being a symbol of the Jim Crow laws. Furthermore, Eckford is seen getting castigated and criticized by her future peers. This picture showed the complications African Americans had with being equally educated and not just that, but the dilemmas they received wanting to equal, as they should have been.

The screaming image has been one of the most famous pictures ever taken, to symbol the hatred for African Americans at the time period. This picture was taken by photojournalist, Will Count. Will Count is known for capturing the desegregation crisis that America was going through. Count was born on August 24, 1931 in Arkansas. Moreover, he went to Little Rock Central High School, the same high school as Elizabeth Eckford. He later went on to Indiana University and then returned to Little Rock to train in journalism. On September 4, 1957, Elizabeth Eckford and eight other African American students were going to Little Rock Central High School, where only white students went at that time. The governor of Arkansas, Orval Faubus, was determined to make sure that segregation did not occur while the students were entering the high school, so the national guard was sent to accompany them. While they were entering the high school, many white students were dissatisfied with the integration going on.

 The white protestors were violent and were attacking African American bystanders and others, while the national guard were trying their best to safely get them accommodated. Additionally, Will Count faced a difficult time while trying to take pictures and report the situation, like other journalists. As seen,  “they were eventually discovered, however, and white protesters became violent, attacking African American bystanders as well as reporters for northern newspapers” (Jaynes 1). This demonstrates the amount of hatred that white protestors had for Africans Americans and society’s perspective on equal education.

More details about the picture

Will Counts took the picture with an advanced technology camera, other journalists took pictures with press cameras. Counts took pictures with a “35mm Nikon S2 camera”(Gochenour 1). This camera was found to be more progressive than other the other cameras that journalists were using. Moreover, pictures were also significant because “ a wide-angle lens gave him a significant technical advantage over the other photographers, who were shooting with large Speed Graphic press cameras that required reloading after each shot” (Gochenour 1). Conversely, Counts, was then recommended to receive the Pulitzer award in 1957, but unfortunately overruled by the board. Though, the other photographs taken by him, such as the one of journalist Alex Wilson being harassed and pestered, got first place in various competitions and was also recognized by Encyclopedia Britannica. 

The screaming picture was taken during a time period, where Jim Crow laws, which were racial segregation laws took place in the South. The student’s entry into the school was supported by the decision made in Brown v. Board of Education. The court ruled that “separate educational facilities for white and African American students were inherently unequal” (Duignan 1). This clearly exhibits the little change society was having toward inequality and how they were trying to make it acceptable by equal school education. The group of nine African American students did not show up on the first day as a deterrent from the minister. They went on the second day and were chaperoned by a small group of interracial ministers. Furthermore, they were welcomed with mobs of protestors, who began threatening and throwing rocks at them. 

President Eisenhower discussed the situation until September 23, when they went back to school and entered through the back door. Consequently, angry student protestors, “ gathered and tried to rush into Central High. Fearing for the lives of the nine students, school officials sent the teens home. They did, however, manage to attend classes for about three hours” (Samuels 1). Nevertheless, as the Little Rock Nine went to school, they kept on getting bullied by verbal and physical attacks and were being victims of violence and hate.

The screaming picture impacted society’s perspective and became an iconic picture, outlining the hatred and the inequality towards African Americans at the time. This photograph represents a significant moment during the civil rights movement by showing the faces of bitterness upon the Little Rock Nine entering the school. Hazel Bryan, as shown in the picture, can be seen taunting and threatening Elizabeth Eckford. The acrimony is not only presented by the hateful speech, but it’s also conferred with the look of envy on her face. This picture impacted America into a sense of sorrow and to alternate the difference society proclaimed at the time. Additionally, this picture has not been altered or recreated because of the views that it gave to the media. As a result, the events going on in the image brought the attention of the media on it, focusing on destestation of protestors at the time, which included Hazel Bryan. 

Not only did the screaming image capture the monstrosity of protestors, but it also brought attention to the difficulties African Americans faced. In other incidents such as the civil rights movement, where African Americans showed the differences they were facing. When they were showing their support for wanting a change in inequality by protesting, they were hosed down and beaten. The Little Rock Nine showed their power and the amount of determination they had to do the right thing. They wanted to show the power they had, so they tried their best to go to school with other peers. Today, inequality is still present throughout the United States, the screaming image of Elizabeth Eckford demonstrated resentment.



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