This article was originally previewed on the blog. You can find the full-length article in issue 2 of our magazine, History is Now, published in November 2013. 

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In the era of modern electronic communications it is sometimes hard to appreciate the immense difficulty which previous generations had in passing messages over both large and not so large distances.  An era in which the written word was the sole means of correspondence with other communities, relations and business interests, made responses slow, with no guarantees of them being received.  This method was of course the preserve of the educated few and seems to those who enjoy instant world-wide correspondence as almost pre-historic.  It is harder to imagine the difficulties which the poor and illiterate had in conveying their message to friends and family outside of their locality.


African-American slaves dancing to music. Name: The Old Plantation, late 18th century, artist unknown.

African-American slaves dancing to music. Name: The Old Plantation, late 18th century, artist unknown.

The rural mid-nineteenth century Southern States of America was populated by millions of poor and illiterate black and white people. The black slave population, continuously denied the most basic of rights, were never going to be presented with a chance to better themselves educationally....


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The full-length article is by Barry Sheppard, a talented part-time blogger with a varied and growing list of historical interests.

AuthorGeorge Levrier-Jones

This is a photo taken in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957, during the Little Rock Crisis.  The crisis was precipitated by the Brown vs. The Board of Education ruling in 1954 which stated that segregated schools were unconstitutional.  However, integration did not immediately follow in the American South.  As part of the Civil Rights Movement, nine black students registered at Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas.

Source: a  LIFE photo essay  to
 commemorate  the 55th anniversary of the crisis.   

Source: a LIFE photo essay to commemorate the 55th anniversary of the crisis.


When the nine students showed up for school on their first day, the governor of Arkansas sent in the National Guard to prevent them from entering the school.  The mayor of Little Rock then asked the President of the United States to send in the Army to make sure the students were allowed to attend.  However, the students faced a year’s worth of verbal abuse, threats, racism and intimidation and only 8 of the 9 students made it to the end of the school year.

This photo shows a pack of white students, anti-integrationists, following two black students on a Little Rock street.  They are taunting and jeering at the two students; in particular look at the man walking at the back of the pack.  I find it amazing how one photo can record the emotions of a historical event – we can see the anger of the man who is yelling, we can feel the pain of the two men who are looking at the ground while they are being verbally abused, and the reader/audience feels fear watching the men being following by their pack of abusers. 


This article originally appeared on the History Kicks Ass blog, an interesting blog about various topics in history!


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AuthorGeorge Levrier-Jones