Pop Staples was inspired to write this song while watching the treatment of the Little Rock Nine.
|Daisy Bates to NAACP Executive Secretary Roy Wilkins on the treatment of the Little Rock Nine, December 17, 1957. Typed letter. NAACP Records, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress (112.00.00) Courtesy of the NAACP|
Daisy Bates and the Little Rock Nine
Daisy Bates, publisher of The Arkansas State Press and president of the Arkansas State Conference of NAACP Branches, led the NAACP’s campaign to desegregate the public schools in Little Rock, Arkansas. Thurgood Marshall served as chief counsel. The school board agreed to begin the process with Central High School, approving the admission of nine black teenagers. The decision outraged many white citizens, including Arkansas governor Orval Faubus, who ordered the Arkansas National Guard to surround Central High School. When the black students tried repeatedly to enter, they were turned away by the guardsmen and an angry white mob. President Eisenhower sent federal troops to Little Rock to force Governor Faubus to uphold the Supreme Court’s ruling and ensure the protection of black students. On September 25, 1957, federal troops safely escorted the students into Central High School. In the midst of the crisis, Daisy Bates wrote this letter to Roy Wilkins to report on the students’ progress.