The Civil Rights Era, Part 2 8. Public School Desegregation in the South after 1954 After Brown v. Board, many public schools in the southern states rolled out an array of measures designed to resist the ruling. Some schools created extra layers of administrative delays designed to stop implementation of the ruling. Other schools suddenly transferred public property to newly created, all-white private academies. A group of southern states--Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia--resurrected pre-Civil War era laws and passed state resolutions declaring their right to interpose their authority between the people and the US government. The president of the United States, a Republican named Dwight D. Eisenhower, did not make any public endorsement or comment about the court’s ruling. But this soon changed when the governor of Arkansas publicly declared that he would oppose the Supreme Court’s ruling about school desegregation. In September of 1957 in Little Rock, Arkansas, the governor of the state decided to impede the desegregation order by ordering the National Guard to block the entrance of 9 African American high school students to the local high school. After several weeks of this tense standoff, President Eisenhower sent 1000 soldiers from the 101st Airborne, an elite unit of Army paratroopers, to enforce the desegregation ruling in Little Rock. Although Eisenhower had remained silent on the ruling earlier, he now defended his actions by delivering a televised address to the nation saying that federal authority had to be enforced over state authority. Many historians have commented that events in Little Rock in 1957 had a Cold War context too. This was because during the tense standoff Eisenhower also stated publicly that the “enemies” of America, by which he meant the Soviet Union, were “gloating” over the situation in Little Rock because it was an example of inequalities in our system. President Eisenhower was the first American president to use armed troops to support African American Civil Rights since Reconstruction after the Civil War. 9. Martin Luther King Jr. and Non-Violent Civil Disobedience In 1956 one year before the standoff at Little Rock, Martin Luther King Jr. had entered the national spotlight after he organized a bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, that had lasted 381 days. King, who was a Baptist pastor, and several other leaders of the African American community in Montgomery had mobilized African American residents to boycott the city bus lines after Rosa Parks (who was a secretary for the local chapter of the NAACP) was arrested and fined after refusing to surrender her seat on a city bus to white patrons. After the 381-day boycott, the bus lines in Montgomery had agreed to desegregate passenger buses. Martin Luther King Jr. was from Atlanta, Georgia and his dad had been the leader of a large Baptist congregation in the city with ties to the middle class. King attended and graduated from More.