Choices People Made: Elected Leaders

"Arkansas is now an occupied territory."
--Orval Faubus, September 26, 1957


"The governor has called out the National Guard to put down trouble where none existed. He did so without a request from those of us who are directly responsible for preservation of peace and order. The only effect of his action is to create tension where none existed. I call the Governor's attention to the fact that after almost a week of sensational developments brought about by his own actions, the Little Rock police have not had a single case of interracial violence reported to them."

--Little Rock Mayor Woodrow W. Mann, September 3, 1957

On Friday, September 20, U.S. District Court Judge Ronald N. Davies ordered the state of Arkansas to stop interfering with integration. Faubus promptly withdrew the Arkansas National Guard. The following Monday, over 1,000 angry white men and women from Little Rock, other parts of Arkansas, and surrounding states gathered outside Central High. The Little Rock police could not contain them. When the crowd heard the black students had entered the school, they beat up reporters, smashed windows, and threatened the "Little Rock Nine"

On September 24, 1957, President Eisenhower sent 1,200 soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division to Little Rock. He told the American people:

"I have today issued an executive order directing the use of troops under federal authority to aid in the execution of federal law at Little Rock... Our personal opinions about the [Brown] decision have no bearing on the matter of enforcement... Mob rule cannot be allowed to override the decisions of our courts."

Polls taken in 1957 indicated that Orval Faubus was one of the 10 most admired men in the United States. In 1958, he was elected to a third term as governor. He would go on to serve an unprecedented three more terms.


On September 25, 1957, Governor Orval Faubus angrily denounced the President's act as a violation of states' rights; Arkansas, he insisted, had become an "occupied territory."

"[The day the 101st Battalion arrived,] the streets were blocked off. The soldiers closed ranks. Neighbors came out and looked. The street was full up and down. Oh, it was beautiful. And the attitude of the children at that moment, the respect they had. I could hear them saying, 'For the first time in my life I truly feel like an American.' I could see it in their faces; somebody cares for me, America cares." --Daisy Bates, President, Arkansas NAACP

"It is not too difficult for a man to stand up and fight for a cause with which he himself believes to be right. But it is quite another thing for a man to stand up and fight for a cause with which he himself does not agree but which he feels it is his duty to uphold. President Eisenhower is a battle-scarred veteran of many a campaign who has been hailed from one end of the world to the other. But we submit that his victory over himself at Little Rock was indeed his finest hour." --New York Amsterdam News, October 5, 1957

Polls taken in 1957 indicated that Dwight Eisenhower was one of the 10 most admired men in the United States.

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