Friday, June 22, 2007


Last night we went to see LRC youth group member Alex Philbrick play baseball. Because he's related to just about everyone who goes to our church, we got to hang out with quite a few of them at the game. Here's something cool about Alex's mom Ashley and me: We both have dads named Winston. How many of you can say that, huh? HUH??

Since we were in the area, and since I just finished "Turn Away Thy Son," Elizabeth Jacoway's book about the Little Rock desegregation crisis, we drove by the Arkansas State Capitol on the way home because I wanted to look at the sculptures depicting the Little Rock Nine. The sculptures show them as the teenagers they were almost fifty years ago taking the courageous walk to Central High School. It actually took them several tries to get in, and they finally entered the school on Sept. 24, 1957 -- several weeks after the school year had started. This was a monumental victory, but it was also the beginning of a traumatic year as all nine were subjected to all kinds of torment for the duration of the school year.

A couple of quotes that have stuck with me from the book:

"For the first time in my life, I felt like an American citizen." -- Minnijean Brown, one of The Nine, on walking into Central High School on Sept. 24, 1957.

"I hope that one of these days, when I put my hand over my heart for the Pledge of Allegiance and salute the flag for its promise of liberty and justice for all, I will be talking about a present reality and not just some future possibility." -- Terrence Roberts, one of The Nine, speaking in the Central High School auditorium in 2005 when a stamp commemorating the crisis was unveiled.

The story of the Little Rock Nine demonstrates so clearly something I've been kicking around in my head for a while now: That a country is not truly free unless it is free for all of its citizens. A seemingly simple concept, but one our country still struggles to grasp.

One side note: Hazel Bryan Massery, the yelling white girl in this famous picture (in all fairness, she immediately regretted her actions and eventually apologized to Elizabeth Eckford), was -- at the time this photo was taken -- a member of the Church of Christ right here in Little Rock.

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  • At Fri Jun 22, 12:33:00 PM, Blogger Beverly said…


  • At Fri Jun 22, 02:52:00 PM, Anonymous chris said…

    I don't know if you saw it on your previous blog about the Little Rock Nine because I commented late. I was a nursing student down the street at the old Baptist Hospital. School had started the week or so before and my new friends and I walked down to see what was going on. BTW your dad teaches my class at church this quarter.

  • At Sat Jun 23, 06:27:00 AM, Blogger Winston said…

    Living in Beaumont TX at that time, I remember reading about LR in the newspapers ... Lamar College (University) also had major incidents but did not rate the national coverage that LR did ...

    BTW, I know Chris (Hello Chris) and I'll be in that class this coming quarter as well (don't leave, Chris) ... We'll be flipping through Philippians ...

  • At Mon Jun 25, 12:19:00 PM, Blogger Sarah said…

    I saw Hazel and Elizabeth on Oprah one time -- very powerful. Especially scary, as a parent, to think that Hazel was simply acting vehemently on what she learned at home. That's where prejudice begins and has to end. And, as a minister in my congregation mentioned to me one time, "Segregation was a time in the church of Christ's history when we had opportunity to show ourselves different from society and failed miserably." Very true.

  • At Mon Jul 02, 02:26:00 PM, Blogger Brian said…

    Great post.

    When I read your quote "That a country is not truly free unless it is free for all of its citizens.", at first glance I thought it said "...unless it is free OF ALL of its citizens...."

    That's an interesting thought in itself.


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