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Day Trips

Central High School National Historic Site in Little Rock, Ark. is an inspirational landmark

By Gerald E. McLeod, Fri., July 19, 2013

Day Trips
Photo by Gerald E. Mcleod

Central High School National Historic Site in Little Rock, Ark., is an important landmark on our nation's journey to create a more perfect union inclusive of all its citizens.

When it was completed in 1927, the building was called the most beautiful public school in America. Thirty years later a stain of bigotry was smeared across the ornate façade to counter the civil rights movement's stand for equal education.

Central High became the focal point of school integration in 1957 when nine African-American students were denied entrance. The action was an affront to the Supreme Court ruling that segregated schools violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. A stunned world watched the black-and-white television images of U.S. soldiers escorting the students to class surrounded by angry mobs.

Today the school looks majestic through the large windows of the National Park Service's visitor center. The center's museum focuses on the powerful events that transpired across the street and the incredible bravery of the few. History comes alive as the struggle unfolds through old newsreel footage and interviews. It is a story that will make you ashamed and proud of our country, but most of all it is inspirational.

Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site is a few blocks from the Arkansas state capitol. Tours of the school are available by reservation. For more information, go to www.nps.gov/chsc.

1,146th in a series. Collect them all. Day Trips, Vol. 2, a book of "Day Trips," is available for $8.95, plus $3.05 for shipping, handling, and tax. Mail to: Day Trips, PO Box 33284, South Austin, TX 78704.

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