LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- A group of students from Central High School has published a book about overcoming discrimination.
They're proving that stories are powerful and can be used to bring about change. THV's Alyse Eady spoke with members of the Memory Project who are offering a fresh prospective on history.
Fifty-five years ago, the doors of Little Rock's Central High School became gates for change when nine African-African Americans came for class for the first time.
Today, more groundbreaking as a group of central students with the memory project continue the legacy of the Little Rock 9.
Their published book, "Mapping the Road to Change" is a collection of student-written essays.
Two of the editors are Abhilasha Gokulan and Sally Goldman. Gokulan says, "This book was unique because we tried to focus on all sorts of discrimination, not just racial, we have socio-economic, religious discrimination, and we also have sexual orientation discrimination."
To go from 300 essays to the 45 appearing in the book, they decided to put the readers first. Gokulan says, "How would they make people feel who read these essays feel and what emotions would invoke and would they encourage others to embrace others who are different from themselves."
Goldman says, "We also wanted to show history from an Average Joe perspective. What would the average person think about this if they were living through this?"
Memory project members met every day after school to work on the project, but it didn't end with the school year. Gokulan says, "We decided to meet over the summer and so we were coming up to school 8 hours a day during the summer."
Now that's dedication! But it paid off and now they're published. Goldman says, "It's in a way surreal because it's like, this is something that, wow, I'm a part of."
Gokulan says, "We as a team really do feel like we're trying to be agents of change and continue what the Little Rock 9 did."
What do they want readers to learn from this book? Gokulan says, "I want people to realize that things aren't always black and white. Social issues are very complex and I think these stories demonstrate that."
Goldman says, "Even a high school student can attempt to make a change - then everyone should attempt to change."
Many of the students walking the halls today are just as engaged as the students 50 years ago.
Special thanks to the students with The Memory Project for sharing their stories.
You can find their book "Mapping the Road to Change" in the book store at the Central High School National Historic Site