Audio walking tour for “Words That Matter”–Voices of Civil Rights: The 1st Day at Central High (September 4th, 1957)

"Elizabeth Eckford," by Rachel Gibson, 2017
“Elizabeth Eckford,” by Rachel Gibson, 2017

This audio walking tour follows the footsteps and narrates eyewitness accounts of the Little Rock Nine’s ill-fated first attempt to attend classes during the historic desegregation crisis. Researched, scripted, and recorded by students in the Central High Memory Project.

Introduction • Project purpose, student credits, sponsors


Optional audio • Inside the NHS park (hear Headlines BEFORE 1st Day)


Audio Stop 1 • West entrance of Visitors Center (hear “NIGHT BEFORE” excerpts)


Audio Stop 2 • Former Bus Stop 13th & Park—Elizabeth Eckford gets off city bus (hear “MORNING OF”)


Audio Stop 3 • SW corner of school campus, Daisy Bates Ave (14th) & Park—Elizabeth Eckford turned away from campus by Guardsmen, who point toward opposite side of street


Audio Stop 4 • Across street and 25 steps to the right (south) from corner—Elizabeth Eckford is spotted by crowd of segregationists and turns back into middle of street; the crowd follows around her


Audio Stop 5 • Mid-Block (back to school side of street)—where Elizabeth Eckford tries again to enter school campus, but is blocked again by Guardsmen


Audio Stop 6 • Middle of street, again—where iconic photo of Elizabeth’s historic solo walk is taken by Will Counts, Arkansas Democrat


Audio Stop 7 • NE corner of 16th & Park, site of former Bus Stop bench—where Elizabeth Eckford goes to wait for bus after being locked out of Drug Store [still standing on SE corner] when she tried to call taxi; here she is approached by several persons but remains surrounded by menacing crowd; when city bus arrives, she boards and leaves for her mother’s workplace, accompanied for short while by Grace Lorch, wife of white math professor at Philander Smith who supported integration


Optional audio • Same corner, facing Central— (hear Headlines AFTER the 1st Day)