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September 24-25, 1957: Little Rock Crisis


President Dwight Eisenhower is forced to place the Arkansas National Guard under federal control to aid in the desegregation of Little Rock's Central High School. Prior to this action, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus had used the state's National Guardsmen to prevent nine black students from entering the school. Faubus had made this move after he had promised Eisenhower that he would not do anything to violate national law. However, the governor needed to appear strongly in favor of segregation in order to be reelected. The following year he closed Little Rock's schools and achieved his goal of getting re-elected. More importantly, however, this crisis represents the first time since the Civil War that the federal government used troops in the South.