On This Day in the 20th Century

#OTD20 | September 24, 1957

Ike Orders Troops to Support Integration of Little Rock Central High School

September 24, 1957: President Dwight D. Eisenhower orders federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas, to support the integration of Central High School.

The action comes in response to the serial refusal by Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus to allow nine black students to attend the school. More immediately, Eisenhower's directive is  precipitated by events of a day earlier when an angry mob agitated in front of Central High School, while nine African American students were escorted inside by Little Rock police and state troopers.

On President Eisenhower's orders, the Secretary of Defense athorizes one thousand members of the 327th Airborne Battle Group of the 101st Airborne Division to be flown from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to Little Rock. They arrive around Central High School by 7:00 p.m.

That same evening, at 9:00 p.m. EDT, President Eisenhower addresses the nation from the White House indicating his decision and stating that “mob rule cannot be allowed to override the decisions of our courts.”

Viewing Options

The crisis at Central High School in Little Rock is chronicled in two standards-based video programs: "Post-War Years" and "Civil Rights Movement," both from the series "America in the 20th Century."


Preview short excerpt from Post-War Years and Civil Rights Movement.


View Post-War Years and the Civil Rights Movement in our members-only Streaming Room™.


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Additional Resources

Access more information from Media Rich Learning and curated off-site sources.

Eisenhower Presidential Library

Explore the collection of documents related to the Central High School integration crisis at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library.

National Park Service

Follow a timeline of the crisis at the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Park website, from the National Park Service.

National Museum of African American History and Culture

Read about the Little Rock Crisis at the website of the National Museum of African American History and Culture

American Presidency Project

Read a transcript of President Eisenhower's 24 September 1957 address at this UC Santa Barbara website.


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