CBS Evening News for Thursday, Sep 22, 1977
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(Studio) Has been 20 years since federal troops escorted group of blacks to high school in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1st of many confrontations over desegregation. Following is update report on Little Rock situation.
REPORTER: Walter Cronkite
(Little Rock, Arkansas) Background of that 1st incident noted. (Film shown.) Black students were barred from Little Rock Central high school by National Guard troops, -under orders from Governor Orval Faubus to maintain segregation. [In film, MAN - thinks blacks will get in, but doesn't know how long they'll live after they do.] Federal troops had to be sent to escort black students to Central. 1 of 9 who were in group, Ernest Green, is now assistant secretary of labor in DC. [GREEN - thinks it significant that for 1st time federal troops protected black students.] Now, Central is 51% black and students of both races get along well together here; while social barriers are largely unbroken, bitterness seems forgotten.
REPORTER: Eric Engberg
[GIRL - feels there are no problems like that now; hasn't hurt her education and that's important thing.] Blacks and whites agree that Little Rock schools are integrated, but that wide gaps remain between races. [Central senior Deann WESTFALL - says students tend to stick with people they've grown up with.] [BOY - says blacks and whites stick pretty much together in groups, depending on what they're doing.] School officials use computer to aid in racial balance in classes, but college prep courses remain almost all white, while vocational and remedial classes are almost all black. [Supt. of schools Paul FAIR - cites reasons for some classes being predominately either black or white.] Critics say this is system to deny blacks equal opportunity. [Attorney John WALKER - says blacks are put into special education programs early and rarely get out of this process.] Impact on white students, is, at present, unclear. Little Rock elementary schools have been undergoing desegregation for last 6 years and it is in this that officials place hopes for true integration.