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Little Rock Nine Member Visits CDS

Monday, April 30, 2018

Last week, we were honored to have Minnijean Brown-Trickey—one of the Little Rock Nine who desegregated the Arkansas public school system in 1957—visit CDS. She and eight other African-American students persevered through racist abuse to become the first black attendees of Little Rock Central High School. After being unjustly expelled from Central High for fighting back against a bully, Minnijean finished her high school education in New York before embarking on a long career dedicated to activism and social justice.

In a packed auditorium filled with third through eighth graders, Minnijean discussed her experiences and fielded difficult questions from the students about how she dealt with a nearly impossible situation. She said that the majority of students and teachers did not actively bully her, but hardly anyone stepped up when she needed help. This is a situation that still remains very relevant today, and one that shows the importance of activism.

Minnijean’s parents were among the few people who truly supported her, even though they themselves faced danger from the white community. She talked about how her parents would let her stay up late to read her favorite books—something that may seem small, but which was very important to her. It allowed her to forget her troubles for a few hours, and it gave her the strength to face the next day.

This was a truly amazing opportunity for our students: a chance to meet someone who is living proof that passionate citizens can change the world. We would like to thank Minnijean for coming to speak with us, CDS parent Leah Spero for helping arrange her visit, and Andrea McEvoy Spero for serving as a moderator for the discussion.