The Little Rock Nine
Daisy Bates – journalist, newspaper publisher, civil rights activist, social reformer
1914 – Born on November 11th; raised by adoptive parents in Huttig, Arkansas
1941 – Married L.C. Bates, a friend of her father who was a journalist but worked selling insurance during the 1930’s. Together they invested in a newspaper the Arkansas State Press
1942 – The paper reported on a local case where a black soldier on leave from Camp Robinson was shot by a local policeman. An advertising boycott almost broke the paper but a statewide circulation campaign increased readership and saved the paper financially.
1952 – Daisy became president of the Arkansas branch of the NAACP
1954 – The Supreme Court ruled racial segregation of schools was unconstitutional. Daisy and others worked to figure out how to integrate the Little Rock Schools. They received less cooperation from the administration than they expected and worked on various plans until they came up with a basic tactic in 1957.
1957 – Seventy-five African-American students registered to attend Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Nine were chosen to be the first to integrate the school and became known as the “Little Rock Nine.” Daisy was instrumental in supporting the nine students. In September 1957, the Arkansas governor arranged for the Arkansas National Guard to stop the students from entering the school. In response, President Eisenhower federalized the guard and sent in federal troops. On September 25, 1957, the students entered the school amid angry protests. The next month Daisy and others were arrested for not turning over NAACP records. Daisy was fined but the conviction was eventually overturned by the US Supreme Court.
1959 – Daisy and her husband continued to support the students despite personal harassment for their actions. Another advertising boycott forced them to close the paper.
1962 – Daisy wrote her autobiography and an accounting of the Little Rock Nine “The Long Shadow of Little Rock.” Former first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt wrote the introduction.
1960-1971 – L.C. worked for the NAACP while Daisy worked for the Democratic National Committee. L.C. died in 1981. Daisy had a stroke in 1965 but worked on projects in Arkansas from 1966-1974.
1984 – Daisy started the State Press Newspaper again and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Law degree by the University of Arkansas. Her autobiography was reissued. Daisy retired in 1987.
1996 – Daisy carried the Olympic Torch in the Atlanta Olympics.
1999 - Daisy died on November 4th, seven days before her 85th birthday.