Elizabeth Eckford, age 15, pursued by a mob at Little Rock Central High School on the first day of the school year, September 4, 1957.
October 4, 1941
Little Rock, Arkansas, United States
|Alma mater||Knox College in Illinois
Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio
|Political movement||African-American Civil Rights Movement, Peace movement|
|Parents||Oscar and Birdie Eckford|
|Awards||Father Joseph Biltz Award|
Elizabeth Eckford (born October 4, 1941) is one of the Little Rock Nine, a group of African-American students who, in 1957, were the first black students ever to attend classes at Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. The integration came as a result of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. Elizabeth's public ordeal was captured by press photographers on the morning of September 4, 1957, after she was prevented from entering the school by the Arkansas National Guard. A dramatic snapshot by Johnny Jenkins (UPI) showed the young girl being followed and threatened by an angry white mob; this and other photos of the day's startling events were circulated around the US and the world by the print press. 
===Background=== On September 4, 1957, Eckford and eight other African American students (known as the Little Rock Nine) made an unsuccessful attempt to enter Little Rock Central High School, which had been segregated. Hintergrund === === Am 4. September 1957 Eckford und acht anderen afrikanischen amerikanischen Studenten einen erfolglosen Versuch, geben Sie Little Rock Central High School, die (wie der Little Rock Nine bekannt) hatte Zeitpunkt getrennt. With the complicity of the National Guard, an angry mob of about 400 surrounded the school. As fifteen-year-old Eckford tried to enter the school, soldiers of the National Guard, under orders from Arkansas Governor Faubus, would step in her way to prevent her from entering. Mit der Komplizenschaft der National Guard, ein wütender mob von etwa 400 umgeben die Schule Cite error: A
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</ref> (see the help page). Soon, she was also protected by a white woman named Grace Lorch who escorted her onto a city bus. The plan was to have the nine children arrive together, but when the meeting place was changed the night before, the Eckford family's lack of a telephone left Elizabeth uninformed of the change. Instructions were given by Daisy Bates, a strong activist for desegregation, for the nine students to wait for her so that they could all walk together to the rear entrance of the school. This last minute change caused Elizabeth to be the first to take a different route to school, walking up to the front entrance completely alone. Cite error: A
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In 1997, she shared the Father Joseph Biltz Award—presented by the National Conference for Community and Justice—with Hazel Bryan Massery, a then-segregationist student at Central High School who appeared in several of the 1957 photographs screaming at the young Elizabeth. During the reconciliation rally of 1997, the two women made speeches together. But later their friendship broke up as she allegedly still harbored racist feelings for non-Whites. In 1999, President Bill Clinton presented the nation’s highest civilian award, the Congressional Gold Medal, to the members of the Little Rock Nine.
On the morning of January 1, 2003, one of Eckford’s two sons, Erin Eckford, age 26, was shot and killed by police in Little Rock. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that the police officers had unsuccessfully tried to disarm him with a beanbag round after he had fired several shots from his rifle. When Mr. Eckford pointed his rifle towards them, the police officers shot him. His mother feared that his death was "suicide by police". Erin, she said, had suffered from mental illness but had been off his prescribed medication for several years. On June 18, 2001, the newspaper reported that prosecutors investigating the fatal shooting had decided that the police officers concerned were justified in shooting Mr. Eckford.
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