Our final stop (some of us were getting museumed-out by this time) was this new national park. In 1957, nine Black students attended the school in response to the Supreme Court ruling to stop segregaton. Governor Orval E. Faubus attempted to use National Guard troops to stop the students “for their own safety.” President Eisenhower called out federal troops to escort them to school. The school was shut down for a year, but several of the students returned and graduated. In the visitor center, I learned that the students were all volunteers. What they did took a tremendous amount of courage.
The school is still active, with about 2,000 students. One of them was getting her photo taken while we were standing in front of the school. I’m sure we were making her feel conspicuous, but that’s what she gets for going to high school in a National Park. It was an impressive building, even apart from the history.
An old Mobil gas station across the street from the school has also been restored and is part of the park. The visitor center can be seen in the second shot.