The Associated Press

Decades after "Little Rock Nine," school segregation lingers

FILE - In this Sept. 25, 1957, file photo, nine African American students enter Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., escorted by troops of the 101st Airborne Division. (AP Photo/File) Source: The Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Among the most lasting and indelible images of the civil rights movement were the nine black teenagers who had to be escorted by federal troops past an angry white mob and through the doors of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, on Sept. 25, 1957.

It had been three years since the Supreme Court had declared "separate but equal" in America's public schools unconstitutional, but the decision was met with bitter resistance across the South. It would take more than a decade before the last vestiges of Jim Crow fell away from classrooms. Even the brave sacrifice of the "Little Rock Nine" felt short-lived — rather than allow more black students and further integration, the district's high schools closed the following school year.

The watershed moment was "a physical manifestation for all to see of what that massive resistance looked like," said Sherrilyn Ifill, director of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

"The imagery of these perfectly

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