Sep 24, 2007

On this day in 1957, President Eisenhower sent 1,000 US government paratroopers to Little Rock AK. to desegregate the schools. The Troopers would escort nine black school children into Central High School, the first federally supported effort to integrate the nations public schools. They later became known as “The Little Rock Nine”. Here is a brief synopsis of those nine courageous students and what they are doing now:

Ernest Green In 1958, he became the first black student to graduate from Central High School. He graduated from Michigan State University and served as Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Affairs under President Jimmy Carter. He currently is a managing partner and vice president of Lehman Brothers in Washington, D.C.

Elizabeth Eckford The only one of the nine still living in Little Rock, Elizabeth made a career of the U.S. Army that included work as a journalist. In 1974, she returned to the home in which she grew up and is now a part-time social worker and mother of two sons.

Jefferson Thomas He graduated from Central in 1960, following a year in which Little Rock's public high schools were ordered closed by the legislature to prevent desegregation. Today, he is an accountant with the U.S. Department of Defense and lives in Anaheim, Calif.

Dr. Terrence Roberts Following the historic year at Central, his family moved to Los Angeles where he completed high school. He earned a doctorate degree and teaches at the University of California at Los Angeles and Antioch College. He also is a clinical psychologist.

Carlotta Walls Lanier One of only three of the nine who eventually graduated from Central, she and Jefferson Thomas returned for their senior year in 1959. She graduated from Michigan State University and presently lives in Englewood, Colorado, where she is in real estate.

Minnijean Brown Trickey She was expelled from Central High in February, 1958, after several incidents, including her dumping a bowl of chili on one of her antagonists in the school cafeteria. She moved with her husband to Canada during the Vietnam War protests of the 1960s and today is a writer and social worker in Ontario. Winterstar Productions is presently filming a documentary on her life.

Gloria Ray Karlmark She graduated from Illinois Technical College and received a post-graduate degree in Stockholm, Sweden. She was a prolific computer science writer and at one time successfully published magazines in 39 countries. Now retired, she divides her time between homes in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Stockholm, where her husband's family lives.
Thelma Mothershed-Wair She graduated from college, then made a career of teaching. She lives in Belleville, Illinois, where she is a volunteer in a program for abused women.

Melba Pattillo Beals She is an author and former journalist for People magazine and NBC and lives in San Francisco.


  1. You left off the ninth member - Melba Patillo Beals - who I have heard speak and is outstanding. Her books, _Warriors Don't Cry_ and _White is a State of Mind_ are important reads for anyone who wants to better understand this time period in American history.

    Rob @

  2. Dear Rob:

    I didn't intentionally leave her off. Something happen in the transmitting of the information. However,thanks for the additional info.