Central High School National Historic Site
In 1927, a 150,000 square foot high school was built in Little Rock with over 36 million pounds of concrete and 370 tons of steel. This two-block behemoth was quickly voted America’s most beautiful high school, featuring a winning combination of Art Deco architecture and collegiate Gothic style. Its fame quickly turned into infamy, being one of the most public cases of desegregation in our nation’s history during the Civil Rights Movement. During the 1957 desegregation crisis, nine African Americans persisted in attending this once all-white school and made a national example and wave in American culture that we can still feel today.
Implemented by force, the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education court decision for desegregation and equality within schools set this school at the forefront of truly making a nationwide example for others to follow, allowing widespread change for the better. The morning of September 23, 1957, was the most violent protest as you will learn about during your tour of the still operating high school.
A park ranger will take you on a one hour, half-mile walking tour of the school, depending on the activities going on within the school. The visitor center across the street is also another great resource for historical information, itself striving to "preserve, protect, and interpret for future generations its role in the integration of schools and the Civil Rights Movement in general." Central High School is an essential educational stop in Little Rock that your group will enjoy exploring the history of!