What Happened Next: The Next Fall...

Despite such praise at home and abroad as from Robeson, the crisis did not end with Green’s education. Reporter Joan I. Duffy of the Memphis Commercial Appeal, explains:

That summer, Faubus and the segregationists had pushed through the legislature a new law allowing school districts to close schools rather than integrate.

The Little Rock School Board voted to close the city’s four high schools for the 1958-59 school year, sending thousands of families scrambling to find alternative education for their children….

No one knows how many students, unable to find an alternative school after the closure, dropped out and never came back. Newspaper accounts of the time described a rash of moving vans taking families out of Little Rock in search of schools.

“Some 3,700 children of high school age have been affected by closings, 100 of them Negroes,” a United Press International dispatch reported….

Several churches cobbled together classes and a private, all-white school enrolled 917.

Closing the schools and the “purge” of 44 teachers by the school board for perceived support of integration ignited the outrage of Little Rock’s moderates. They were led by 76-year-old Adolphine Fletcher Terry, a civicly active society matron who had organized the city’s public library system. She organized an army of 2,000 women—all of them white. By the Spring of 1959, a recall movement ousted three segregationists from the school board and replaced them with moderates. The schools re-opened in the fall of 1959.

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