These Horrifying Pictures Show Just How Brave The Little Rock Nine Were

"I looked into the face of an old woman and it seemed a kind face, but when I looked at her again, she spat on me." —Elizabeth Eckford, 1957

Following the landmark 1954 ruling of Brown v. Board of Education, the United States moved in the direction of desegregating schools that kept minorities in separate and poorly funded learning environments. While the ruling showed promise for the future of the US's educational system, implementing desegregation would not come easy for towns that had existed for decades under sharp racial divisions.

One such place was Little Rock, Arkansas, which in 1957 white locals attacked a group of black students, known as the Little Rock Nine, planned to attend Little Rock Central High School. On Sept. 4, 1957, the first day of classes, Gov. Orval Faubus called for the National Guard to prevent the students from entering the building. Several weeks later President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent the US Army's 101st Airborne Division to escort the Little Rock Nine safely into the school.

These are are some of the troubling and triumphant images from that month and the years that followed.