LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — This was a commemorative weekend and certainly one of reflection for the Little Rock Nine as they continued sharing their story with the community.
“We only saw the pain of our presence, but today I stand here looking at a street with our names,” said Ernest Green.
It has been over six decades since the nine teenagers broke racial barriers by walking through the doors at Central High School and ended segregation in the state of Arkansas.
“All 223 days back in 1957, and 58. We used to say to each other and to friends. We were doing this now so that our children won't have to do it,” explained Elizabeth Eckford.
65 years later the trailblazers spoke to a younger generation and reflected on their impact in the fight for equality.
“Things have changed. Progress has been made,” said Eckford. “She hasn’t had to experience growing up in the environment we grew up in.”
They recognized that a moment in history where there was fear and pain, now serves as a reminder.
“When you honor the past, you shine a light on the darkness that was previously there and you can learn from history,” said Green
Former president Bill Clinton was also in attendance and honored the Little Rock Nine's story by encouraging Arkansans to remember two things.
“Common humanity is more important than our differences, and it makes our differences special and works,” said President Clinton.
The Little Rock Nine students themselves, hope that people will continue to push for change.
“Ordinary people can do extraordinary things. Don’t be silent, don't be afraid. You may be someone’s hope someday,” said MinniJean Brown Trickey.
Over the course of the commemorative weekend, these trailblazers along with former president Clinton explained that when it comes to the fight for social justice, though things have gotten better, there’s still a long way to go.