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Nine from Little Rock (1964)

| Documentary, Short
The Arkansas school integration crisis and the changes wrought in subsequent years. This film profiles the lives of the nine African-American students who integrated Central High in Little ... See full summary »

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Won 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Credited cast:
Jefferson Thomas ...
Himself - Narrator
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ernest Green ...
Himself
Thelma Mothershed ...
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The Arkansas school integration crisis and the changes wrought in subsequent years. This film profiles the lives of the nine African-American students who integrated Central High in Little Rock, Arkansas, during the fall of 1957. The film documents the perspective of Jefferson Thomas and his fellow students seven years after their historic achievement. Central to this story is their quiet but brave entrance into Little Rock High, escorted by armed troops under the intense pressure of the on looking crowd. We learn first hand their impressions of the past and present and their hopes for the future. Their selfless heroism broke the integration crisis and pioneered a new era. This film went on to win an Academy Award® for Best Documentary Short in 1964. "...we honor them today but let us not forget to heed their lesson..."---President Bill Clinton Written by Guggenheim Productions, Inc.

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understand it in context
26 January 2016 | by (Portland, Oregon, USA) – See all my reviews

Charles Guggenheim's Oscar-winning "Nine from Little Rock" looks at the nine African-American students who enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957, only to see the governor prevent them from entering. Eisenhower sent in the troops to escort the nine students into the school, but there's more to the story. The documentary is narrated by Jefferson Thomas, one of the students. He reflects on the state of race relations in the seven years that had elapsed, and also looks at fellow students Ernest Green and Thelma Mothershed.

It's important to understand the context of the event. The white people who tried to prevent the black students from entering believed that they were doing the right thing by keeping non-white people out of the school. As far as the state governments in the south were concerned, Martin Luther King was an extremist. The Civil Rights Movement led to the third rise of the Ku Klux Klan. The shooting in the South Carolina church last year (might we call it a terrorist attack?) was because the perpetrator thought that "blacks are taking over". Never let yourself get fooled when these people talk about the "good old days".

Anyway, it's a good documentary. I'd say that it deserved its Oscar win, although I haven't seen 1964's other nominees. Charles Guggenheim's son Davis directed "An Inconvenient Truth".


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