LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - The eight surviving members of the Little Rock Nine recognize how much has changed, while knowing there is still a ways to go.
Sixty year ago, nine black students stepped foot into the formerly all-white Little Rock Central High School. The eight surviving members spoke ahead of the 60th anniversary of Central’s integration about the struggles they faced.
"I was just excited to be going to my new high school," said Carlotta Wall LaNier. "The high school I passed every day going another mile away to my black junior-senior high school. I had this opportunity and I took that opportunity so the crowd was there, but I ignored them. I really did ignore them. It was ignorance in my view."
Ernest Green remembers the first time he saw all the soldiers outside of Little Rock Central. He said a light went on inside his head and he knew there was something more important happening than just him going to class.
"If it was that big a deal, I wanted to see it through," Green said.
They know there is still a ways to go in America, but they recognize how different things are now.
"Your colored face has voice. You get to speak out. You get to come to the table and be part of the argument," said Doctor Melba Pattilo Beals. "When I was a little girl we didn’t have that privilege, we were still sitting at the back of the bus, we were still drinking from water fountains marked ‘colored’ and we had no right to say anything. So don't talk to me about where we've gone, I think we've gone a long way towards taking that first step."
They hope other young people won’t be afraid to take those big steps like they did back in 1957.
"You don’t have to be perfect to change the world," said Minnijean Brown Trickey
"We dreamed and that’s what makes this country great, that dreamers are able to execute," said Green.
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