Newstalgia Reference Room - A Portrait of Orville Faubus. The Governor of Arkansas at the center of the School Integration Controversy on September 1957 as documented by NBC Radio's Life And The World.
September 13, 2010

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Central High in Little Rock Arkansas. Orville Faubus' very own migraine.


September 1957 was the month School Integration got it's first test. Central High School in Little Rock Arkansas was the flash point. At the center of that flash point was Governor Orville Faubus who, in retaliation to the Supreme Court ruling, called out the Arkansas National Guard to prevent Central High from being integrated.

As a result, Faubus became something of an international personality almost overnight. So NBC Radio, as part of its Life and The World series in conjunction with Life Magazine ran this portrait, actually kind of a whitewash, on the personality of Orville Faubus. A sort of "who is this guy and why are people saying mean things about him" while he went about purging the School Board of pro-Integration members. Swell guy. Swell media.

John Steele (Time-Life Reporter): “When Governor Faubus left the President’s office, I got the impression of a deeply concerned, deeply worried man. He received a gracious Presidential leave taking which Mister Eisenhower thanked him for coming and wished him best of luck. Orville Faubus then walked slowly down the green slope to the waiting helicopter. The problem so easy to discuss in the cool of the President’s office, would be, one felt, far harder to solve in the emotion packed atmosphere of Little Rock Arkansas.”

In the end the 101st Airborne division had to come down and ensure integration of the school and Faubus would say it was all political, that his arm had been twisted by his opponents to take such a stand. Civil rights in this country was indeed a very long and twisted road.

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