May 27, 1958

Ernest Green was the first Negro student to graduate from Little Rock Central High School.

June 21, 1958

Federal District Judge Harry Lemley granted a delay of integration until January 1961.

August 1958

The NAACP appealed Judge Lemley’s decision to grant a delay of integration until January 1961.

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned Judge Lemley’s delay for thirty days, and the Little Rock School Board asked for time to appeal.

Governor Faubus called an extraordinary session of the Arkansas General Assembly, and proposed six bills.

Sixteen bills passed during the extraordinary session that were designed to further stall integration.

The Supreme Court called for a special session to discuss Little Rock School Districts’ integration.

September 1958

On Friday, September 12th, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of continuing integration,

Governor Faubus signed the bills from the extraordinary session on Friday, September 12th, and closed Little Rock’s four high schools using the new state laws.

The language of the new state laws made it nearly impossible to reopen the schools during the 1958-59 school year:
Act 4 allowed the closure of any school threatened with racial integration, and called for a special election;
Act 5 allowed state monies to follow any displaced student to the school of the student’s choice.

The Women’s Emergency Committee to Open Our Schools was quickly formed, and the group campaigned to get voters to support integration.

The schools remained closed, and Little Rock’s high school students were left to find their own way to get or to complete their education during “The Lost Year” of 1958-59.

Some citizens and students in Little Rock feared the loss of the 1958-1959 school year would do severe damage.

The Women’s Emergency Committee to Open Our Schools and Hall High School students had a few things to say on the matter.

Please refer to the following primary documents provided as a courtesy of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s Special Collections Archive.

Women’s Emergency Committee
to Open Our Schools ballot

Open Our Schools Flier

Hall High School Students' Letter

All documents courtesy of UALR Special Collections