The Little Rock Nine

The desegregation of Little Rock’s Central High School caught national attention when Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus deployed the Arkansas National Guard to prevent African American students from entering the school. The fight to allow those students to attend Central lasted much longer than those first weeks. The Little Rock Nine faced violence and intimidation throughout the school year in their quest to get an equal education. 

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
Analyze and evaluate a variety of thematically-related texts of historical and literary significance for their topics, facts, purposes, and rhetorical...
Determine multiple central ideas of a text or texts and analyze their development; provide a critical summary.
Analyze how an author's choices regarding the ordering of ideas and events, the introduction and development of ideas, and connections among ideas...
Determine a central idea of a text and analyze its development; provide an objective or critical summary.
Analyze how an author presents and develops key ideas and events to impact meaning.
Describe significant events in the struggle to secure civil rights for African Americans, including the following:
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Learning objectives: 

Students will read and analyze multiple primary sources related to the desegregation of Little Rock’s Central High School. Students will also compare and contrast these sources in a class discussion to answer the investigative question. 

Essential and guiding questions: 

What role did the Little Rock Nine play in the civil rights movement?

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 
  • Assign students different members of the Little Rock Nine and explore what happened to them after the 1957-58 school year. How did being a member of the Little Rock Nine shape their lives?
  • Have students research the desegregation of Clinton High School in Clinton, TN. How do these two events compare?
  • Have students research the desegregation of their school or school district. This may include interviewing students or teachers who experienced desegregation effort in your local area. 

Helpful Hints


  • Stop signs for each student
  • Easel Pad or White Board