Episode 212: Daisy Bates and the Little Rock Nine

In this episode of The Reference Desk, Katie is bewitched by the incredible story of Daisy Bates and the Little Rock Nine.

Following the landmark Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Board of Education, all school districts were instructed to begin integrating public buildings. But in Little Rock, Arkansas, the resistance to integration became a national spectacle. As Governor Orval Faubus went to extreme lengths to keep Little Rock’s Central High segregated, nine brave African American students stepped up to confront him. The teenagers were selected and aided by Civil Rights activist Daisy Bates, local NAACP president, newspaper owner, and all-around champion for change. Together, Bates, the Little Rock Nine, and their courageous families changed the American education system. But since the 1980s, American schools have started to become more segregated. We explore the factors surrounding the complicated issue and examine how the education of Black children in America has been shaped throughout our history. 

Listen here:


Still Separate, Still Unequal: Teaching About School Segregation and Educational Inequality (NYT article Katie mentions)

U.S. school segregation in the 21st century

Little Rock Nine: the day young students shattered racial segregation

Daisy Bates and the Little Rock Nine

Inside the Rosenwald Schools

Little Rock Nine Foundation

Nice White Parents podcast

What we are reading: 

Katie: Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty

Hailee: Songteller by Dolly Parton

Recommended this week: see our Bookshop affiliate page for all of our recommendation or to purchase a title!

A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School by Carlotta Walls Lanier

Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals

The Worst First Day: Bullied While Desegregating Central High by Elizabeth Eckford

The Lost Education of Horace Tate by Vanessa Siddle Walker

Children of the Dream: Why School Integration Works by Rucker C. Johnson and Alexander Nazaryan

The Long Ride by Marina Budhos

What’s Mine and Yours by Naima Coster

Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Black Leopard Red Wolf by Marlon James

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Black Buck by Mateo Askaripour

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

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