"History is always happening" at Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
Silence not courage
In response to the letter to the editor by Betty Parsons Adams alleging that “...being silent and practicing self-control may have been an act of courage” during the integration of Central High, Edmund Burke said it best: “All it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing.”
Silence equates to cowardice and you don't get kudos for that.
With all respect to Betty Adams of Harrison, silence during the Little Rock High desegregation crisis was NOT courage, it was cowardice.
As the famous quote goes, “For evil to flourish, it only requires good men to do nothing.” In this instance, MANY “good” people stood by and, by their silence, did nothing.
I also disagree with the assertion that Adams and her peers “had nothing to compare with.” President Truman had desegregated the armed forces in 1951, six years before Central High. By 1954, black students were already GRADUATING from peacefully integrated high schools.
Smith and her peers had the examples of Rosa Parks, Mahatma Gandhi, and countless others to lead them and they failed to live up to those examples. Fortunately, President Eisenhower had the strength of conviction that Mrs. Smith, her peers, and her parents lack.
Central High issue
I read with interest the concerns Dr. Walter Kimbrough expressed in “Roy Brooks is our Don Imus.”
I agree with his prescriptions for improving African-American student achievement, even while recognizing the necessity for additional, larger systemic methods (which are goals themselves), such as eliminating racial bias in hiring, promotion, loan acquisition and media representation.
Until recently, I might have reluctantly agreed with his comment: “John McWhorter, the noted educator and author, suggests that Black America suffers from a cult of anti-intellectualism. He may be on to something.” And then I read Dr. Algernon Austin's superb “Getting It Wrong: How Black Public Intellectuals Are Failing Black America.”
I cannot recommend highly enough Austin's book. It's a detailed, clear and thoroughly referenced (and remarkably slim, in almost John Stuart Mill-ian way) volume debunking virtually every caustic myth about African-Americans, while being completely frank about genuine obstacles and some of the means required to overcome them. Best of all, Austin's book is no polemic. He doesn't attack the titular black intellectuals he cites; he merely corrects their record without invective.
Thank you, thank you, Arkansas Times for your special issue, “The Little Rock School Crisis and what it wrought.” The well-written, in-depth articles, reports, essays and editorials covered, from several angles, not just the way things were 50 years ago, but the way things are going today. Although there is progress, we still have a long way to go. It would be another 10 years after the Nine that I would enter high school in another Southern state. I remember seeing prejudice in the words and actions of other kids, adults, in TV news, and even churches and not understanding the meanness. If only I could have read about the Nine in my American history class I may have been braver. As more young people read about those nine brave teen-agers, maybe they too will be better able to stand for right in spite of what the grown-ups do. Thank you Arkansas Times for sharing this information.
I enjoyed the recount of the historical events surrounding the Little Rock Nine and the Integration of Central High School. I believe reconciliation can only begin and move forward when history is told the way it really occurred. In the article written by Johanna Miller Lewis in which she states “enslaved women impregnated by their owners ... as a result of intimate relationships” clearly denies the fact that a majority of enslaved women were raped and assaulted by their slave owners and/or domestic employers. To imply the enslaved women were merely “impregnated” sounds scientific. Further, to state the servant to employer relationships were intimate is not consistent with the harsh reality. Would you report a rape/assault to the police as a situation in which you were impregnated through an intimate relationship? We must face the truth and be honest in the recollection of how activities in the past really occurred before we will ever see real healing.
I was shocked and appalled at the lack of acknowledgement of the true heroes of Central High integration: The 13 courageous families in Topeka who filed Brown v. Board of Education, without whom this group of nine in Little Rock would never have had the opportunity to integrate Central High in their youthful life time.
Shouldn't these nine people celebrating their freedom to educate themselves be down on their knees thanking, among others, the Topeka NAACP leaders, such as chairman McKinley Burnett; Charles Scott, one of three serving as legal counsel for the chapter; and Lucinda Todd? To say nothing of Oliver Brown and the other 12 families who had the intestinal fortitude, or good old-fashioned American guts to file Brown v. Board of Education. After all, without those courageous people the Nine in Little Rock very likely would never have had any education at Central High School in their youthful life. And Gov. Faubus would still be projecting his racist shadow across the whole of Little Rock.
Come on, folks. Credit where credit is due!
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