Lincoln, Pryor Introduce Senate Resolution to Commemorate Central's 50th Anniversary of Desegregation
U.S. Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) today announced that they have introduced a resolution in the Senate recognizing the 50th anniversary of the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School, calling it one of the most significant events in our country's civil rights movement.
"Fifty years ago, nine African-American students made their way through the front doors of Little Rock Central High School and in turn became the principle figures in a defining chapter of American history," Lincoln said. "In their steadfast commitment to ensuring an equal education for all, these young Arkansans showed tremendous courage in the face of strong opposition. Today, we honor their brave action as one of the most important victories for equality in this country."
"The extraordinary achievements of the Little Rock Nine have had a profound impact on American society," said Pryor. "They are an inspiration and a reminder of what can be done in the face of adversity and injustice. Moreover, their selfless acts of courage opened the doors of opportunity for all individuals. As a former Central High student, I know their impact still resonates within the classrooms and in the hearts of students and teachers."
The resolution introduced by Lincoln and Pryor recognizes the extraordinary bravery and courage of the Little Rock Nine who helped expand opportunity and equality in public education in Arkansas and throughout the country by becoming the first African-American students at Central High School. The resolution encourages all Americans to reflect on the importance of the anniversary and to continue to work to ensure that all of America's children have access to an equal opportunity in education.
In 2005, Lincoln, Pryor, and U.S. Representative Vic Snyder (D-Ark.) were successful in passing legislation to mint a commemorative coin in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the desegregation of Central High School. The commemorative coin can be purchased online at www.usmint.gov. Proceeds from a $10 surcharge on each commemorative coin benefit educational programs and capital improvements at the Little Rock Central High National Historic Site.
In addition, Lincoln, Pryor, and Snyder have worked to secure nearly $6 million to support the construction of the new Central High Visitors Center. The center will be formally dedicated on September 24, 2007. For more information on events surrounding the 50th anniversary, visit www.arkansasglobecoming.com or www.nps.gov/chsc.