Daisy Lee Gatson Bates was an activist, journalist, civil rights activist and publisher and former head of the NAACP (Little Rock, AR). Bates has a rich history of accomplishments but is well known for her involvement in the Little Rock Nine.
In 1957, she helped African American students to become the first to attend the all-white Central High School in Little Rock. The group's first attempt to go to the school was met by angry whites that jeered at them as they arrived. The governor, Orval Faubus, opposed school integration and sent members of the Arkansas National Guard to prevent the students from entering the school. Despite the enormous amount of animosity they faced from white residents of the city, the students were undeterred from their mission to attend the school.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower became involved in the conflict and ordered federal troops to go to Little Rock to uphold the law and protect the Little Rock Nine. With U.S. soldiers providing security, the Little Rock Nine left from Bates’ home for their first day of school on September 25, 1957. Bates remained close with the Little Rock Nine, offering her continuing support as they faced increased harassment and intimidation from people against desegregation.
"No man or woman who tries to pursue an ideal in his or her own way is without enemies."
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