& Original Documents Pertaining to the
1957 Crisis at Little Rock
Central High School and
the Civil Rights era.
Daisy Bates made her mark in the pages of American history as the fearless leader of public school integration efforts in Little Rock, Arkansas. As president of the state NAACP and co-publisher of The Arkansas State Press newspaper, Daisy Bates took the forefront in the battle to uphold the 1954 Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Board of Education, which declared school segregation unconstitutional. Daisy Bates became the mentor and leader of the nine students chosen to integrate Little Rock Central High School. Her home served as their meeting place before and after school. When the first attempt for the nine students to attend the all-White Central High School failed, Daisy Bates made a personal plea to President Dwight Eisenhower to protect the children and enforce the law. That enforcement came in the form of the 101st Airborne Division, sent by President Dwight Eisenhower to assure the students safe entry into the school. On September 25, 1957, the nine students mesmerized the nation when they walked up the stairs of Little Rock's Central High School, attending classes with White students for the first time in Arkansas history. Although there was victory that day, the fight for integration continued throughout the school year and into the 60’s.
DAISY BATES: IN HER OWN WORDS tells the story of the integration efforts at Little Rock Central High School in the words of Daisy Bates, a key figure in the integration crisis. Using manuscripts, media interviews, documents, personal encounters and personal interviews, author Deborah Robinson weaves Bates’ own words to reveal compelling details and behind the scenes stories of her life and involvement in the crisis at Central High School. Neither the book, the documentary nor the exhibit is intended to be an exhaustive history of integration efforts at Central High School; many other things happened and many other people were responsible for them. Nor do they intend to document the contributions of the many persons involved in the crisis. They are personal historical documentations from the recollection of Daisy Bates. They are intended to piece together highlights of Little Rock’s integration story and the life of Daisy Bates as told by Mrs. Bates from 1942 until her death in 1999. Whether speaking in the historical moment or remembering the times to reporters and friends, sentence tenses may change as her words are pieced together from different times in her life.
This mini-documentary chronicles Daisy Bates‘ involvement in the Crisis at Central High. Narrated by Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee and Deborah Robinson, this documentary includes dramatic footage and photos of the Crisis at Central High and features the voice of Daisy Bates giving account of the Crisis... In Her Own Words.
DAISY BATES: IN HER OWN WORDS is a photographic exhibit from the book with the same title. It is as much a story in photos and documents as it is in words. Commissioned originally by The University Museum & Cultural Center - University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, photos from the book of these historical times are used - without retouching or corrections - to tell the story of the Crisis at Central High School and the Civil Rights era through the eyes of Daisy Bates. Documents and letters, many worn with the vestiges of time, are combined with select quotes to allow viewers to put the events in Daisy Bates’ life in historical perspective.
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“I was so afraid of actual murder.
I knew if anything happened to the first person that I was responsible for it all.
They were saying, ‘Why don’t you give up? Send them on back. Send them out of town. Is the price worth it?’
We were fighting vicious forces. The whole state and I just didn’t see how we could win.
I suddenly realized where I stood at that moment.
All the pressure and the children facing the mob and going in that day...
All of that came back in great force and the realization that I held the lives of 9 children in my hands.
All this came down on me and I asked ‘Why?
Why am I the person to have to do this and have I done the right thing?
Am I doing the right thing?’”
The perseverance of Daisy Bates during these turbulent years sent a strong message throughout the South that desegregation worked and the tradition of racial segregation would no longer be tolerated in the United States of America. In 1957, the Associated Press named Daisy Bates one of the top nine news personalities in the world. In 1962, Daisy Bates wrote her memoir, The Long Shadow of Little Rock. The book, with a preface by Eleanor Roosevelt, chronicled the integration efforts at Central High School. In 1963, Daisy Bates was the only woman to speak at the March on Washington. Daisy Bates passed away in 1999. In addition to the many scholarships, awards, accolades and honors that carry her name: Arkansas has established the third Monday in February as "Daisy Gatson Bates Day," an official state holiday. The street that runs in front of Little Rock Central High School has been renamed Daisy L. Gatson Bates Drive. The Daisy Bates Elementary School in Little Rock is named in her honor. And the home where Daisy Bates and her husband, L.C. Bates, lived in 1957 and until their deaths has been established as The L.C. & Daisy Bates Museum and has been designated as a National Historic Landmark.
About the AuthorDeborah Robinson is a native of Little Rock, Arkansas and a graduate of Little Rock Central High School, where she was the first African American captain of the Cheerleaders. She is an author, journalist and host of the television talk show, The Deborah Interviews Show. She is a former Correspondent for BET News. She’s won several awards for her news and public affairs coverage, including the Crystal Award and awards from VH-1 and the Arts & Entertainment Channel. Deborah has done extensive research on Daisy Bates and the integration of Little Rock Central High School, including spending time working with Daisy Bates to produce a documentary on her life and involvement in civil rights. Deborah sits on the Board of the L.C. & Daisy Bates Museum Foundation.
BATES: In Her Own Words BOOK
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|DAISY BATES In Her Own
Words Multimedia CD
Includes Photographic Exhibit & Video
Out of Stock