In 1957, the nation was riveted by the Little Rock Nine—nine black teenagers who were sent to integrate Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas. On their first day of school, they met opposition from threatening white students and even the National Guard, who blocked their entrance into the school.
Finally, they were allowed to enter the school—from a side door—and a white mob erupted. Once inside, they found their struggles for respect and equality had only just begun.
In 1996, Oprah spoke with those former students who said they went to school in an atmosphere of hostility and war. Three former white students spoke out that day to say they regretted their opposition to the Little Rock Nine. One of the former students, Ann, says she was raised in a racist family and has now broken that chain of racism with her own family.
“That was a blessed day for me to be in the studio with the Little Rock Nine because there’s no question that they paved the way for people like myself. And their shoulders, I’m standing on them,” says Oprah.