Read the artist's statement for photographer and filmmaker Danny Wilcox Frazier.
The letter exchange between George Washington and the Hebrew congregation of Newport was not the only landmark event in the early history of America that dealt with issues of religious freedom and identity. Seixas’ letter and Washington’s subsequent response exist within a timeline of many other events during which the newly formed country faced those issues. Continue reading below for information about some of those events.
On Friday, September 10th, U.S. District Judge Ronald N. Davies ruled that the state could not continue to block integration. Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus responded to the court order by withdrawing the Arkansas National Guard.
The following Monday, about 100 Little Rock police officers placed wooden barricades around Central High as over a thousand angry white men and women from Arkansas and surrounding states gathered in front of the building. To avoid the mob, the African American students entered the school through a side door. After learning the students were in the building, the crowd went on a rampage.
The next day, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, outraged by the violence, ordered the 101st Airborne Division to Little Rock. On September 25th, American soldiers not only dispersed the mob but also escorted the "Little Rock Nine" to school.
In the weeks that followed, the 101st Airborne restored order in the streets. But neither the soldiers nor school officials had much effect on the small but determined group of white students who insulted, humiliated, and physically threatened the “Little Rock Nine” day after day.