White House Sketches
President Dwight Eisenhower Enforces Racial Integration of Schools in Little Rock, Arkansas
September 24, 1957
After the Supreme Court had ordered the states to desegregate public schools in Brown v. the Board of Education in 1954, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus called in the Arkansas National Guard to stop the integration of Little Rock High School in September 1957. President Dwight D. Eisenhower decided to send United States Army troops to Little Rock to protect the students from angry crowds as they entered the school. To explain his actions Eisenhower delivered a television speech from the Oval Office of the White House. “Speaking from the house of Lincoln, of Jackson and of Wilson, my words better convey both the sadness I feel in the action I was compelled today to take and the firmness with which I intend to pursue this course until the orders of the federal court at Little Rock can be executed without unlawful interference.” The next morning, nine African American students attended classes at Central High.