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(1957) Dwight Eisenhower, “Address on Little Rock"

The Little Rock Crisis erupted in September 1957 when Arkansas Governor Orval M. Faubus used state National Guard troops to prevent nine African American students from attending the then all-white Central High School.  On September 20, Federal Judge Ronald Davis ordered Governor Faubus to remove the troops and allow the integration of the school.  When he defied the court order, President Dwight Eisenhower dispatched nearly 1,000 paratroopers and federalized the 10,000 man Arkansas National Guard to insure the school would be open to the nine students.  On September 24, 1957, President Eisenhower addressed the nation to explain his actions.  That address appears below.

Good Evening, My Fellow Citizens: For a few minutes this evening I want to speak to you about the serious situation that has arisen in Little Rock. To make this talk I have come to the President’s office in the White House. I could have spoken from Rhode Island, where I have been staying recently, but I felt that, in speaking from the house of Lincoln, of Jackson and of Wilson, my words would better convey both the sadness I feel in the action I was compelled today to take and the firmness with which I intend to pursue this course until the orders of the Federal Court at Little Rock can be executed without unlawful interference. 

In that city, under the leadership of demagogic extremists, disorderly mobs have deliberately prevented the carrying out of proper orders from a Federal Court. Local authorit

This morning the mob again gathered in front of the Central High School of Little Rock, obviously for the purpose of again preventing the carrying out of the Court’s order relating to the admission of Negro children to that school.

Whenever normal agencies prove inadequate to the task and it becomes necessary for the Executive Branch of the Federal Government to use its powers and authority to uphold Federal Courts, the President’s responsibility is inescapable. In accordance with that responsibility, I have today issued an Executive Order

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