Turn Away Thy Son: Little Rock, the Crisis That Shocked the Nation (Google eBook)
In September 1957, the nation was transfixed by nine black students attempting to integrate Central High School in Little Rock in the wake of the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision. Governor Orval Faubus had defied the city's integration plan by calling out the Arkansas National Guard to prevent the students from entering the school. Newspapers across the nation ran front-page photographs of whites, both students and parents, screaming epithets at the quiet, well-dressed black children. President Eisenhower reluctantly deployed troops from the 101st Air-borne, both outside and inside the school.
Integration proceeded, but the turmoil of Little Rock had only just begun. Public schools were soon shut down for a full year. Black students endured outrageous provocation by white classmates. Governor Faubus's popularity skyrocketed, while the landmark case Cooper v. Aaron worked its way to the Supreme Court and eventually paved the way for the integration of the south.
Betsy Jacoway was a Little Rock student just two years younger than the youngest of the Little Rock Nine. Her "Uncle Virgil" was Superintendent of Schools Virgil Blossom. Congressman Brooks Hays was an old family friend, and her "Uncle Dick" was Richard Butler, the lawyer who argued Cooper v. Aaron before the Supreme Court. Yet, at the time, she was cocooned away from the controversy in a protective shell that was typical for white southern "good girls." Only in graduate school did she begin to question the foundations of her native world, and her own distance from the controversy.
Turn Away Thy Son is the product of thirty years of digging behind the conventional account of the crisis, interviewing whites and blacks, officials and students, activists and ordinary citizens. A tour de force of history and memory, it is also a brilliant, multifaceted mirror to hold up to America today. She knows what happened to the brave black students once they got inside the doors of the school. She knows how the whites' fear of "race mixing" drove many locals to extremes of anger, paranoia, and even violence. She knows that Orval Faubus was only a reluctant segregationist, and that her own cousin's timid tokenism precipitated the crisis.
Above all, Turn Away Thy Son shows in vivid detail why school desegregation was the hottest of hot-button issues in the Jim Crow south. In the deepest recesses of the southern psyche, Jacoway encounters the fear of giving black men sexual access to white women. The truth about Little Rock differs in many ways from the caricature that emerged in the press and in many histories -- but those differences pale in comparison to the fundamental driving force behind the story. Turn Away Thy Son is a riveting, heartbreaking, eye-opening book.
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Turn away thy son: Little Rock, the crisis that shocked the nationUser Review - Not Available - Book Verdict
Little Rock, AK, became ground zero in September 1957 in the social revolution that was U.S. public school desegregation. For the 50th anniversary of the crisis, independent Ph.D.-trained historian ... Read full review
It could be much better if the facts were represented correctly, and events not "sensationalized" that in fact, were not really events at all, and didn't happen. Richard Boehler didn't trip Minnie, as specified on page 219, he was sitting in his chair with his feet in the aisle. She (Minnie) approached him in her brash, offensive, troublemaking manner(she earned herself many detentions and got in trouble frequently at school, was tardy, etc, hardly a model student), calling him names, and demanding that he move his feet. When he refused, she in fact stepped on his shins and legs, tripping herself, and causing the drama and scene and playing the victim that she still plays so far to this day.... I truly feel sorry for her, but not because of what she supposedly endured at Little Rock HighSchool, but because of the sham and lie that her life has been due to the events there that fate laid out for her.
It is sad that this situation had to happen, and that times were the way they were back then, we've come quite a way, but lies, dramatization, embellishments, and her riding and milking her notoriety and thriving off of people feeling sorry for her and playing the victim, instead of getting on with her life, being real, and focusing on what really matters, instead of focusing on herself, her imagined slights (as well as plenty of real slights I'm sure), and being a victim. instead of being a victim, stand up and be a role model, instead of crying about yesterday, look at the only true thing that you really have, the here and now, what you can do with it to help all of mankind and yourself, and love instead of hate, and build a positive environment for the future and for our children to form themselves into well adjusted, loving, kind, helpful members of society.
Richard C Butler
A Bang and a Whimper
Faubus Hays and Eisenhower
The Little Rock Nine
Robert R Brown and the Civic Elite