- Should President Dwight D. Eisenhower have used federal troops to enforce a federal court’s order to integrate schools in Little Rock, Arkansas?
- Understand the events leading up to and including the Little Rock Crisis.
- Analyze President Eisenhower’s constitutional justification for his actions.
- Assess the President’s decision to use military force to prevent violent opposition to a court order.
- Handout A: Eisenhower and the Little Rock Crisis
- Images at www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/24/little-rock-arkansas-school-segregation-racism
- Handout B: Document Based Question
- Handout C: Analyzing Documents
- Key Question Essay Prompt
To create a context for this lesson, students complete Constitutional Connection: The President as Enforcer of the Law.
Have students read Handout A: Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Little Rock Crisis and answer the questions.
Project the two Little Rock Crisis images available at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/24/little-rock-arkansas-school-segregation-racism
Ask students for their impressions of the images:
- What are people doing? What are people NOT doing?
- What kinds of expressions or attitudes do you see?
- Are there law enforcement officers present? If so, do they seem to be working to stop the violence?
- What do these images reveal about Little Rock at the time they were taken?
DAY ONE ACTIVITY [30 MINUTES]
Distribute Handout B: Document Based Question. With students working in pairs, or leading the class as a large group, read each of the documents and answer the scaffolding questions that follow each one.
As they progress through the documents, have students fill in the concept map on Handout C: Analyzing Documents.
DAY TWO ACTIVITY [50 MINUTES]
Give students the entire class period to write a well-organized essay in response to the Key Question.
Debrief the class about what they have learned about the events from the first three and a half weeks of September, 1957.
Ask students for their initial responses to the key question: How would they assess Eisenhower’s constitutional justification for using federal troops to enforce a court’s order to integrate?
Have students continue to annotate Handouts B and C as needed to prepare to answer the key question during the next class.
Have students read Eisenhower’s entire radio address and summarize its key points. The document can be found at www.c-span.org/video/?434366-1/president-eisenhower-speech-rock.
Have students research the lives of the Little Rock Nine: Carlotta Walls, Jefferson Thomas, Elizabeth Eckford, Thelma Mothershed, Melba Pattillo, Terrence Roberts, Gloria Ray, Minnijean Brown, and Ernest Green.
Brown v. Board of Education | BRI’s Homework Help Series
Brown v. Board of Education was a case brought to the Supreme Court in 1954 after Linda Brown, an African American student in Kansas, was denied access to the white-only schools nearby her house. Future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall was the lawyer for the case, and argued that segregated schools were inherently unequal. Ultimately, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Linda Brown and declared segregation unconstitutional. This is one of the landmark cases that led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964.
Brown v. Board of Education (1954)
Case background and primary source documents concerning the Supreme Court case of Brown v. Board of Education. Dealing with the principle of Equal Protection, this lesson asks students to assess the role played by the Court as the protector of individual rights against the tyranny of the majority.
Elizabeth Eckford, the Little Rock Nine, and Purpose
In this lesson, students will learn about Elizabeth Eckford and the sense of purpose that drove the Little Rock Nine. They will explore how the perseverance of Eckford and the other minority students helped advance freedom and equality as well as learn how dedication to their own purposes also benefits society.
Eisenhower and the Little Rock Crisis (1957)
A document-based question which explores Dwight D. Eisenhower's response to the Little Rock Crisis. This lesson asks students to asses President Eisenhower's constitutional justification for his decision to send federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas to enforce a federal court's order to integrate public schools.