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Beyond Little Rock

The Origins and Legacies of the Central High Crisis

John A. Kirk

Publication Year: 2007

Based on extensive archival work, private paper collections, and oral history, this book includes eight of John Kirk’s essays, two of which have never been published before. Together, these essays locate the dramatic events of the crisis within the larger story of the African American struggle for freedom and equality in Arkansas.

Published by: University of Arkansas Press


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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. ix-x

Was Little Rock somehow an aberration? Did this race hatred spring up as mushrooms in a field, invisible only hours before? What sparked the nine African American children who attempted to enter Central High School to risk life and sanity for education? Did that...

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pp. xi-xiii

The dominant theme of my research on the civil rights struggle in Arkansas has been the need to understand the events of the 1957 Little Rock crisis within the context of an unfolding struggle for African American freedom and equality, and a constantly changing set of...


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pp. xv-xvi

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1. The 1957 Little Rock Crisis: A Fiftieth Anniversary Retrospective

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pp. 1-14

The 1957 Little Rock crisis has generated a large body of monographs, essays, articles, theses, radio broadcasts, music, and films over the past fifty years. The purpose of this chapter is twofold: first, to provide a very brief summary of the events of the crisis, and second, to...

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2. The New Deal and the Civil Rights Struggle: A Case Study of Black Civilian Conservation Corps Camps in Arkansas, 1933–1942

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pp. 15-34

Historians have noted the ambiguous and sometimes contradictory impact of the New Deal on black Americans. On the one hand, the federal government programs and reforms that took place during the 1930s gave grounds for hope that things were changing for the...

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3. Politics and the Early Civil Rights Struggle: Dr. John Marshall Robinson, the Arkansas Negro Democratic Association, and Black Politics in Little Rock, 1928–1952

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pp. 35-54

One of the most far-reaching effects of the New Deal in the United States was its impact on political party allegiances and voting behavior. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s political “New Deal coalition,” which was formed of diverse groups in American society, including...

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4. Mass Mobilization and the Early Civil Rights Struggle—“He Founded a Movement”: W. H. Flowers, the Committee on Negro Organizations, and Black Activism in Arkansas, 1940–1957

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pp. 55-69

Since the 1980s historians of the civil rights movement have moved beyond the exploration of national events, figures and organizations, which much of the initial body of literature addressed, toward a probing of local developments, assessing their impact upon the...

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5. Gender and the Civil Rights Struggle: Daisy Bates, the NAACP, and the Little Rock School Crisis; A Gendered Perspective

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pp. 70-93

One glaring omission from Vicki Crawford and associates’ landmark volume Women in the Civil Rights Movement is an in-depth look at Daisy Bates’s role in the struggle for civil rights. As a central participant in the 1957 Little Rock school integration crisis and head...

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6. White Opposition to the Civil Rights Struggle— Massive Resistance and Minimum Compliance: The Origins of the 1957 Little Rock Crisis and the Failure of School Desegregation in the South

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pp. 94-115

Two assertions are central to this avowedly revisionist essay, which uses the case study of white reaction to the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation decision in Little Rock, Arkansas, to suggest a new framework for understanding the emergence of white...

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7. White Support for the Civil Rights Struggle: The Southern Regional Council and the Arkansas Council on Human Relations 1954–1974

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pp. 116-138

Many histories of the civil rights struggle have centered on what the press in the 1960s labeled the “Big Six” organizations: the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the National Urban League (NUL), the Brotherhood of Sleeping...

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8. City Planning and the Civil Rights Struggle— “A Study in Second-Class Citizenship”: Race, Urban Development, and Little Rock’s Gillam Park, 1934–2004

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pp. 139-158

The historiography of the civil rights struggle has changed dramatically over the past quarter of a century. Early histories that appeared prior to the 1980s concentrated primarily on Martin Luther King Jr. and the familiar “Montgomery-to-Memphis” narrative of his...


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pp. 159-200


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pp. 201-213

About the Author, Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781610750653
E-ISBN-10: 1610750659
Print-ISBN-13: 9781557288516
Print-ISBN-10: 1557288518

Page Count: 220
Publication Year: 2007

OCLC Number: 608298801
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Beyond Little Rock

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • African Americans -- Civil rights -- Arkansas -- History -- 20th century.
  • African Americans -- Civil rights -- Arkansas -- Little Rock -- History -- 20th century.
  • Civil rights movements -- Arkansas -- History -- 20th century.
  • Civil rights movements -- Arkansas -- Little Rock -- History -- 20th century.
  • African American civil rights workers -- Arkansas -- Biography.
  • School integration -- Arkansas -- Little Rock -- History -- 20th century.
  • African Americans -- Education -- Arkansas -- Little Rock -- History -- 20th century.
  • Arkansas -- Race relations -- History -- 20th century.
  • Little Rock (Ark.) -- Race relations -- History -- 20th century.
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