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Rep. Diana DeGette
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Clyburn Statement on 50th Anniversary of Little Rock Nine

Central High School Integration

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

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WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Whip and former Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, James E. Clyburn, released the following statement today in recognition of the 50th Anniversary of nine African-American students dubbed, “The Little Rock Nine,” enrolling in, and integrating Little Rock Central High School in 1957.

“The bravery, discipline, and resolve exhibited by the Little Rock Nine and the friends and family who supported their efforts integrating Little Rock Central High School 50 years ago, will forever be regarded as one of the most inspiring events in American history.  Their unwillingness to be overwhelmed by the brutal forces of racism and bigotry, speaks volumes to their courageous character and noble vigor. 

“The resolve shown by President Eisenhower in dispatching the 101st Airborne Division of the US Army and federalizing the Arkansas National Guard so these students could attend school, sent a message to those blocking the path of integration.  And it strengthened the determination of those who were standing up, marching or sitting-in for civil rights across the country. 

“As a civil rights activist in South Carolina and organizer of one of the first sit-ins in that state, the Little Rock Nine serve as able examples for us of what can be achieved when individuals take principled stands for fairness and equality.  Their struggle and selfless sacrifices demonstrate that insurmountable social ills can be defeated by altruistic acts and enduring deeds of valor.”