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Elizabeth Eckford and Courage Primary Source Analysis

  • I can analyze a primary source image to identify an example of courage through the story of Elizabeth Eckford.

Building Context
In the 1954 case Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court ruled segregation was unconstitutional. The court urged public schools to be integrated with “all deliberate speed.” The Brown decision was a landmark in the fight for equal rights for Black Americans, but the work to desegregate schools was far from over. The Supreme Court cannot write or enforce laws. Local legislative bodies must write laws and the executive must enforce them. Young people, too, had an important part to play in desegregating schools. Elizabeth Eckford, a fifteen-year-old Black girl, and eight other young people volunteered to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. The image below shows Eckford on her way to school in 1957.

Directions: Study the image before filling in the chart below.

Black student Elizabeth Eckford is jeered by white student Hazel Bryan as she attempts to enter Little Rock Central High School in 1957.

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Describe what you see. What questions do you have about this image?












What inferences might you have about this image’s connection to the civic virtue of courage: The ability to take constructive action in the face of fear or danger. To stand firm as a person of character and do what is right, especially when it is unpopular or puts one at risk?








Explain your reasoning.






How does this image connect to the information about the Brown v. Board of Education (1954) case?










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