Pictured, front row, left to right: Minnijean Brown, Elizabeth Eckford, Carlotta Walls, Mayor Wagner, Thelma Mothershed, Gloria Ray; back row, left to right: Terrance Roberts, Ernest Green, Melba Pattilo, Jefferson Thomas.
This photo was taken in June 1958 after the students had spent a tumultuous year integrating Little Rock’s Central High. The students were being given an award by the local hotel workers union in New York City and Mayor Wagner changed his schedule in order to personally praise the students for what they had overcome. Holding Carlotta and Thelma’s hands was a public show of support for school integration.
Little Rock public schools were closed down by segregationists for the entire 1958-1959 academic year. The combined efforts of civil rights groups, the federal government, and local citizens who preferred integrated schools to no schools at all eventually led to the reopening of Little Rock’s schools in the summer of 1959.