Little Rock Nine’s Eckford to Headline Concert-Lecture Series

Feb 7th, 2018 | By | Category: News and Features

Arkansas State University-Beebe Concert-Lecture Series will welcome Elizabeth Eckford, a member of the historic Little Rock Nine, to the Beebe campus on Tuesday, Feb. 27 at 1 p.m. at the Owen Center Auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public.   Eckford recently appeared on KTHV’s Channel 11 to speak about her newly published first book “The Worst First Day: Bullied While Desegregating Central High.” The book details her experiences during and after the 1957 Central High School integration crisis.     The lecture coincides with Black History Month and the university’s read-in at the Abington Library. The read-in spotlights David Margolick’s book ‘Elizabeth and Hazel,’ in which Eckford’s story is featured. All are invited to read the book and then experience her powerful story in person at the lecture. During her senior year of high school, Eckford moved to St. Louis and obtained a GED. She then attended Knox College in Illinois, and received her bachelor’s degree in history.  While in college, Eckford became one of the first African Americans to work at a bank in a non-janitorial position. A veteran of the U.S. Army, Eckford has also worked as a substitute teacher in Little Rock public schools, test administrator, unemployment interviewer, waitress, welfare worker, military reporter, and probation officer.  Along with her fellow Little Rock Nine members, she is a recipient of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Spingarn Medal, the prestigious Congressional Gold Medal, and a Humanitarian award presented by the National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ), which recognizes forgiveness and atonement.      Eckford stated in her biography that she has ‘started to walk through the painful past in sharing some of her story.  She has said that true reconciliation can occur if we honestly look back on our shared history. She believes that the lessons learned from Little Rock Central High School must continue to be shared with new generations, reminding audiences that “the dead can be buried, but not the past.”  Eckford continues her interest in education by sharing her story with school groups, and challenges students to be active participants in confronting justice, rather than being passive observers.’  To see more of Eckford’s biography, open the following link at      Public school students have been invited to attend the lecture. The Owen Center Auditorium is located at 910 Pecan Street in Beebe. For more information, or to reserve space for a group, contact Special Events Coordinator Carissa Gillam at (501) 882-8957, or visit the ASU-Beebe website at   Arkansas State University-Beebe is an operationally separate, two-year institution of the Arkansas State University System.  With campuses located in Beebe, Heber Springs, Searcy, the Little Rock Air Force Base, and online. The university offers associate degrees, certificates, and non-credit training for business and industry.  The Beebe campus also collaborates with Arkansas State, a four-year university in Jonesboro, to offer baccalaureate and graduate degrees on the Beebe campus. ASU-Beebe is nationally recognized by the Aspen Institute for student success rates.