60| Little Rock Central High School

60 years later and the influence of Little Rock Central High School is still influencing schools in America to do the right thing. In Georgia, there are still segregated proms and student activities. In a social studies class at my school, one of the scholars view of rural areas is that many of the citizen there voted for President Trump because that is the type of America they want. The larger perspective is we have to receive the view of opposition because we want everyone to have freedom of speech. Yes, we get freedom of speech but not hate speech. Hate speech is not acceptable ever. This country has empowered people like Donald Trump to spew hate speech and it’s empowered others to feel as if this type of behavior is okay.

Here’s why the Little Rock Central High integration influence is still relevant today:


Our children need equity just as much as equality. Too often our children don’t receive the resources and tools needed to achieve higher levels of success. It is our job to ensure the educational system provides children what they need based on their way of learning.

Separate and Unequal 

The battle of the zip codes. In Atlanta you can see clear differences in the resources and educational impact between North and East schools to South and West schools. It’s not just the schools. It’s evident in economic development, small business support, community building, family development all which impact the success of schools. The stigmas and stereotypes of south and west schools also negatively impacts the vision people have of the schools. It is also used to further separate educational access for all students.


Working as a middle school Assistant Principal I am focused on ensuring our scholars are ready for high school. The middle school program must be structured, organized and well planned especially since these are critical and challenging years. The lessons learned here elevates the level of success our scholars will meet in high school. The middle school also begins the break of family engagement. It’s during these years that we need a lot of family and community engagement.  We need parents, coaches, mentors and community supporters heavily involved to present positive images of success in all areas of life for our scholars. Readiness begins here just like the fundamental of learning begin in the elementary level. However our challenges is with teacher quality. Our schools still must advocate and fight for quality teachers. Teacher quality determines how prepared our scholars will be. It influences how stakeholders are engaged and most importantly is determines how the vision will be carried out.

As we celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Little Rock Central High Integration, we must continue to lift every voice, advocate for educational access, equity and equality for all of our children.





  1 comment for “60| Little Rock Central High School

  1. Paula Matabane
    September 30, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    As someone who remembers Little Rock and Central High through the lens of an admiring and inspired first or second grader in an all-black segregated private school in Atlanta (black public elementary schools were on the “swing system”, i.e. 1/2 a day school for each student because of overcrowding — so black teachers taught two full classrooms each day), I agree with you but think your focus is a bit skewed but not wrong.

    I know firsthand the negative impact of inadequate and unequal facilities — for one semester I sat on the floor of my overcrowded 8th grade English class at Washington High in the early 1960’s. I sat in the same classroom desks that Martin Luther King, Jr. did decades earlier. But unequal facilities were greatly (not completely) offset (not excused or accepted) by three things — parental involvement and discipline of children by parents and teachers; community commitment to our education; and sympathetic if not empathetic teachers who understood the mentality and challenges we faced.

    I grew up in a family with multi-generations of educators and I am the parent of a now adult daughter. I think the basic problem of black public education begins at home and in the community. Then it migrates to the level of municipal governance allocations and policies, teacher preparation, local school leadership, etc. I took my daughter out of a well equipped magnet public high school (in the Washington, DC suburbs) because of the predominance of thug life practiced by her male and female classmates. Government policies, financial resources, and laws enacting equity and equality are necessary but they can’t save you. Unless schools are redesigned to take on the re-education of bombed out parents nothing much will change with the addition of more computers and smart boards. Smart parents who can afford it will not sacrifice their children to schools overrun by thug life. Those are the very parents you need.

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