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Barnes and... A Conversation with Elizabeth Jacoway

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IN SEPTEMBER 1957, LITTLE ROCK SET INTO MOTION EVENTS THAT WOULD RESOUND INTO HISTORY. A YOUNG GIRL, OBLIVIOUS TO EVENTS SWIRLING AROUND HER, WOULD GROW UP TO FIND SHE HAD LIVED THROUGH ONE OF THE MOST MOMENTOUS TIMES IN OUR COUNTRY'S HISTORY, AND SHE KNEW THE PARTICIPANTS INTIMATELY. ELIZABETH JACOWAY SPEAKS WITH AETN STEVE BARNES IN THIS TWO-PART INTERVIEW ABOUT HER 30 YEARS OF RESEARCH AND THE RESULTING BOOK, "TURN AWAY THY SON". LITTLE ROCK, THE CRISIS THAT SON". LITTLE ROCK, THE CRISIS THAT SHOCKED THE NATION.

STEVE BARNES: HELLO AGAIN, EVERYONE, AND HAW FOR JOINING US. ELIZABETH JACOWAY IS QUITE LIKELY THE ONLY Ph.D. IN SOUTHERN HISTORY TO SETTLE IN NEWPORT, ARKANSAS, AT LEAST IN MODERN TIMES. FOR THE NEXT HALF HOUR, ELIZABETH JACOWAY IS SETTLED IN WITH US. WE THANK YOU FOR THIS HALF HOUR.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: THANK YOU. I'M DELIGHTED TO BE HERE.

STEVE BARNES: ELIZABETH IS THE AUTHOR OF "TURN AWAY THY SON", LITTLE ROCK, THE CRISIS THAT SHOOK THE NATION. OF COURSE, WE ARE TALKING ABOUT THE 1957 [INAUDIBLE] EPISODE, BOTH BEFORE AND AFTER. HOW -- YOUR FAMILY, AN OLD LITTLE ROCK FAMILY ESTABLISHED, YOU KNEW -- NAME THE PLAYERS THAT WERE WOVEN INTO THE SOCIAL LIFE, THE COMMERCIAL LIFE OF YOUR PLAYER. EASIER OR MORE DIFFICULT?

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: THAT'S A GOOD QUESTION. BOTH. IT'S -- THE INSIDER ALWAYS HAS CERTAIN ADVANTAGES IN TRYING TO WRITE ABOUT A PERIOD IN THE PAST BECAUSE YOU -- YOU KNOW NUANCES. YOU'RE TUNED IN TO THINGS THAT OTHER PEOPLE WOULD MISS. AND OBVIOUSLY, I KNEW THE PEOPLE, AND SO WHEN I WOULD CALL AND SAY, CAN WE TALK ABOUT THIS, THEY WERE WILLING TO TALK TO ME BECAUSE THEY KNEW I WASN'T SOME OUTSIDER WHO WAS GOING TO, YOU KNOW, MAKE THEM LOOK BAD. I THINK THEY JUST HAD MORE CONFIDENCE IN TALKING TO ME. AND SOME OF THEM THOUGHT THIS IS LITTLE BETSY JACOWAY, IT'S NOT GOING TO AMOUNT TO ANYTHING, GO AHEAD AND TALK, AND I THINK SOME PEOPLE TOLD ME THINGS THEY MIGHT NOT HAVE TOLD A MORE MATURE RESEARCHER. THE DISADVANTAGE OF BEING AN INSIDER IS YOU DO HAVE PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS, SO YOU HAVE TO WORK HARD TO SET THOSE ASIDE AND TRY TO WIPE THE SLATE CLEAN. ALL HISTORIANS AIM FOR OBJECTIVITY, WHICH IS NOT -- IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO ATTAIN, BUT THAT'S THE GOAL THAT WE KEEP OUT THERE.

STEVE BARNES: YOU GET PRETTY CLOSE TO IT. WERE YOU TEMPTED TO STRAY AWAY FROM THAT BY EMOTION? SOME OF THESE PEOPLE WERE FRIENDS OF YOUR FAMILY.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: YES, I WAS IN TWO PARTICULAR INSTANCES, BUT THAT'S WHY I USED THE STRATEGY THAT I DID IN PRESENTING THE NARRATIVE. I MOVED THE STORY CHRONOLOGICALLY THROUGH TIME, BUT IN EACH CHAPTER I LOOK OUT THROUGH THE EYES OF A DIFFERENT CHARACTER BECAUSE I'M TRYING TO COMMUNICATE TO THE READER THAT THERE ARE MANY TRUTHS. THERE IS NOT ONE TRUTH ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED IN LITTLE ROCK IN 1957, AND IT DEPENDS ON WHERE YOU SIT, WHAT YOU SEE. AND MY GOAL WAS TO MAKE MY READER LIKE AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, UNDERSTAND THE MIND-SET OF EACH OF MY CHARACTERS. AND I HAD FUN WITH THAT BECAUSE SOME OF MY CHARACTERS ARE GENERALLY REGARDED AS EVIL GUYS AND BAD GUYS, AND I DON'T BELIEVE IN BAD GUYS AND GOOD GUYS. I THINK -- I THINK THERE ARE SOME PSYCHOPATHS OUT THERE, BUT MOST OF US ARE FLAWED, FRAIL HUMAN BEINGS DOING THE BEST WE CAN, AND I CERTAINLY THINK THAT WAS TRUE IN 1957, WHEN --

STEVE BARNES: MEN WHO SOMETIMES FAIL?

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: OH, FREQUENTLY, BUT THIS WAS A CRISIS THAT WAS THRUST ON AN UNPREPARED COMMUNITY. PEOPLE WERE NOT EXPECTING TO HAVE TO PLAY HEROIC ROLES. SO IT WAS -- IT WAS A REAL GLANCE INTO HUMAN NATURE.

STEVE BARNES: LET'S TALK WITH THE JACOWAY CLAN, IF WE CAN, AT THE TIME OF BROWN OR A LITTLE BIT AFTER. YOU WERE IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: YES.

STEVE BARNES: AND YOUR DAD WAS VERY PROMINENT.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: RIGHT, DAD WAS A LAWYER. MY OLDER BROTHER GRADUATED FROM CENTRAL HIGH IN THE SPRING OF 1957, AND I WAS IN THE EIGHTH GRADE AT THE TIME OF THE LITTLE ROCK CRISIS. BUT I WAS OUT AT FOREST HEIGHTS. I HAD GONE TO FOREST PARK, AND I KNEW THAT WHEN --

STEVE BARNES: THIS IS WITHIN, REALLY, SHOUTING DISTANCE OF CENTRAL --

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: RIGHT.

PULLS KEY HEIGHTS. -- PULASKI HEIGHTS.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: RIGHT. I WAS NOT GOING TO GO TO THAT HIGH SCHOOL. SOMEHOW I DIDN'T HAVE FRIENDS THAT HAD SIBLINGS AT CENTRAL HIGH AND I DIDN'T HAVE COUSINS THERE, AND WE DIDN'T HAVE A TELEVISION AT THAT POINT. MY DAD DIDN'T THINK THAT THAT WAS SOMETHING THAT KIDS OUGHT TO BE DOING AND WE SHOULD BE OUT PLAYING TENNIS OR WHATEVER.

STEVE BARNES: PRUDENT MAN.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: SO WE DIDN'T SIT AROUND AND WATCH THOSE THINGS. OF COURSE, I KNEW, I HEARD THAT THESE THINGS WERE HAPPENING, BUT AT 13, I WASN'T READING THE NEWSPAPER, AND UNFORTUNATELY, IF I WOULD ASK QUESTIONS ABOUT THINGS LIKE THIS, MY DADDY ALWAYS RESPONDED WITH LITTLE GIRLS ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO THINK ABOUT UNHAPPY THINGS. AND I'VE TALKED TO SO MANY OF MY FRIENDS, GIRLS, WHO WERE RAISED THE SAME WAY, THAT WE WERE -- WE WERE PROTECTED IN A LITTLE HOMOGENEOUS BUBBLE, AND WHAT IT WAS, WE WERE SOUTHERN LADIES IN TRAINING, AND SOUTHERN LADIES ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO THINK. THEY'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO QUESTION THE PATRIARCHAL SOCIAL SYSTEM. AND SO THAT'S -- THAT'S -- SO MANY PEOPLE FROM OUTSIDE THE SOUTH CERTAINLY AND FROM OUTSIDE LITTLE ROCK SAY YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING. AS A KID, I FOLLOWED THAT DAILY. I WAS SO FASCINATED WITH IT. BUT MY CONTEMPORARY MYSTIC. AND A PART OF THE PROBLEM WAS THAT IN OUR SCHOOLS, THE TEACHERS DIDN'T DISCUSS IT BECAUSE IT WAS A TABOO TOPIC. IT WAS TOO DANGEROUS TO TALK ABOUT THESE THINGS IN THE CLASSROOM. THEY MIGHT LOSE THEIR JOBS. AND SOME TEACHERS DID LOSE THEIR JOBS THE NEXT YEAR.

STEVE BARNES: ONLY A COUPLE DAYS AGO I WAS STRUCK WHEN I KNEW THAT WE WERE GOING TO HAVE THIS CONVERSATION, I WAS STRUCK, AND OF COURSE I READ IN YOUR BOOK THAT YOU HAD BEEN SHIELDED, AS WERE OTHER LADIES OF YOUR -- YOUNG LADIES OF YOUR STATION. BUT ON NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO, AND I CANNOT RECALL THE YOUNG LADY'S NAME OR THE LADY'S NAME, SHE WAS AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN LADY, AN AUTHOR WHO RECALLED BEING SHIELDED FOR AS LONG AS SHE COULD BY HER PARENTS FROM THE REALITIES OF BEING BLACK IN AMERICA. AND I CAN'T RECALL WHETHER SHE WAS SOUTHERN --

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: THAT'S VERY COMMON IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY. YOU READ THAT OVER AND OVER, THAT PARENTS TRIED TO SHIELD THEIR CHILDREN FROM THE INEVITABLE PAIN AND HEARTACHE OF HAVING TO DEAL WITH RACE IN AMERICA.

STEVE BARNES: YOU HAD WHAT I THINK IN THE BOOK YOU DESCRIBE AS A DAMASCUS MOMENT.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: I DID.

STEVE BARNES: AND IF I MAY, QUOTING FROM YOUR INTRODUCTION, I HAD MINDLESSLY PARTICIPATED IN AND BENEFITED FROM A RACIST CULTURE. WHAT BROUGHT ABOUT THAT MOMENT?

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: I WAS IN -- I WAS SUCH A GOOD LITTLE GIRL. I DID WHAT MY DADDY TOLD ME TO, AND HE TOLD ME TO MAJOR IN HISTORY, AND I DID. AND HE TOLD ME TO GO TO GRADUATE SCHOOL, AND I REALLY WASN'T INTERESTED, BUT I DID. AND I SOMEHOW ENDED UP IN A FABULOUS SOUTHERN HISTORY SEMINAR TAUGHT BY GEORGE TYNDALL. I DIDN'T KNOW THAT IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO GET INTO THIS SEMINAR BECAUSE DR. TINDALL WAS SO SOUGHT AFTER. BUT THERE I WAS, AND HE LOOKED LIKE ALL MY FATHER'S FRIENDS. HE LOOKED LIKE A LOVELY SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN WITH ELEGANT WHITE HAIR AND NICE JACKETS AND BOW TIES. IF HE HAD HAD ON A WORK SHIRT THAT EXPRESSED THE RADICALISM THAT HE REALLY FELT IN HIMSELF, I PROBABLY WOULDN'T HAVE LISTENED TO HIM. BUT I DID LISTEN CAREFULLY BECAUSE HE HAD CREDIBILITY WITH ME. AND I HATE TO SAY THAT WHEN I FIRST LOOKED AROUND THAT SEMINAR AND THERE WERE SO MANY PEOPLE THAT WERE TYPES OF PEOPLE WITH WHOM I WAS NOT ASSOCIATED OR FAMILIAR, I THOUGHT TO MYSELF, THESE PEOPLE WOULD NEVER HAVE GOTTEN THE BID TO MY SORORITY. [LAUGHTER] AND FINALLY, AFTER ABOUT A WEEK OR TWO OF THIS, I BEGAN TO LISTEN, AND I REALIZED THESE WERE FASCINATING PEOPLE WHO WERE TALKING ABOUT THINGS THAT MATTERED AND THEY CARED PASSIONATELY. OF COURSE, WE WERE TALKING ABOUT THE SOUTH SINCE THE CIVIL WAR, AND WE WERE TALKING ABOUT RACE. AND I HAD NEVER HEARD THE KINDS OF THINGS THAT THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT. AND MY FIRST REACTION WAS, OH, I WOULD HAVE HEARD THIS. SURELY IT WASN'T LIKE THIS. BUT I HAD A VERY CLEAR -- AFTER ABOUT THE THIRD WEEK, I CAN REMEMBER THE DAY SITTING IN THAT UPSTAIRS SEMINAR ROOM, AND IT WAS LIKE THE LIGHT CAME THROUGH THE WINDOW, AND I JUST -- THE SCALES FELL FROM MY EYES, AND I REALIZED I HAVE GROWN UP IN A RACIST CULTURE, AND I HAVE NEVER QUESTIONED IT. I HAVE LIVED THROUGH ONE OF THE MAJOR EPISODES IN AMERICAN LIFE, AND I KNOW THE MAJOR PLAYERS, AND I'VE NEVER ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT IT. THIS IS UNBELIEVABLE. I THINK OF MYSELF AS AN INTELLIGENT PERSON. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? AND THEN THE QUESTIONS STARTED. MY FATHER'S FRIENDS WERE RUNNING THE COMMUNITY. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN ON THEIR WATCH? I KNOW THESE ARE GOOD PEOPLE. I KNOW THESE ARE CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATS WITH A SMALL D, A BIG D TOO.

STEVE BARNES: REPUBLICANS WITH A SMALL R.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: MAYBE. I CAME HOME AT CHRISTMAS, AND I SAID, DADDY, I'M GOING TO WRITE A MASTER THESIS ABOUT THE LITTLE ROCK CRISIS. AND HE SAID, NO, YOU'RE NOT. HE WAS STILL PRACTICING LAW IN LITTLE ROCK, 1967, AND HE KNEW THAT THAT WAS STILL -- IT WAS JUST TEN YEARS AFTER THE CRISIS. IT WAS STILL AN AREA THAT WAS FRAUGHT WITH SO MUCH EMOTION AND SHAME. AND HE WAS NOT GOING TO ALLOW ME TO STIR THAT POT. SO I -- I -- HE HAD WANTED ME TO GET A MASTER'S DEGREE, BUT I GOT SO CAPTIVATED BY THE WHOLE STORY OF RACE IN AMERICA THAT I ENDED UP GETTING A Ph.D. AND CHOSE A TOPIC THAT WAS A VERY SAFE SOUTH CAROLINA TOPIC, EVERYONE WAS DEAD AND IT WASN'T GOING TO HURT ANYBODY IN LITTLE ROCK, AND I LEARNED HOW TO BE A HISTORIAN DOING THAT BOOK.

STEVE BARNES: A QUICK WORD, IF YOU WOULD, DR. JACOWAY, ABOUT WHY IT TOOK 30 YEARS. THEN WE'LL GO TO THE SUBSTANCE OF THE BOOK.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: I STARTED WITH AN NEH GRANT IN 1976 REFER AND I SPENT THE ENTIRE YEAR RESEARCHING ALL OVER THE COUNTRY IN ARCHIVE, HAD A WONDERFUL TIME. THEN I CAME BACK AND TOUT AT UALR FOR A COUPLE OF YEARS AND FINISHED UP THIS OTHER BOOK I HAD JUST WRITTEN FOR MY DISSERTATION AND ANOTHER EDITING PROJECT THAT GREW OUT OF THIS WORK THAT I WAS DOING ABOUT LITTLE ROCK. AND THEN I GOT MARRIED AND HAD BABIES AND STARTED MY SCHOOL AND WAS VERY ACTIVE IN THE COMMUNITY. THEN MY FRIEND WROTE A BOOK IN 1984 CALLED THE LITTLE ROCK CRISIS, AND I THOUGHT, WELL, THAT'S IT. AND IN A WAY I WAS RELIEVED BECAUSE I HAD DISCOVERED SOME THINGS IN MY EARLY RESEARCH THAT WERE TROUBLING TO ME. I HAD DISCOVERED THAT TWO PEOPLE WHO HAD BEEN IMPORTANT IN MY CHILDHOOD, BROOKS HAYS AND VIRGIL BLOSSOM, HAD PLAYED ROLES IN THE LITTLE ROCK CRISIS THAT WERE NOT THE WAY THE WORLD UNDERSTANDS THEM TO HAVE BEEN.

STEVE BARNES: MR. BLOSSOM WAS THE SUPERINTENDENT AT THE TIME AND MR. HAYS WAS THE UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN, WHOSE DISTRICT AT THAT TIME INCLUDED LITTLE ROCK, WHAT IS NOW THE 2nd CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT. WHAT DID YOU DISCOVER?

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: WELL, VIRGIL BLOSSOM, OF COURSE, STEPPED FORWARD IN 1954 AND VOLUNTARILY SAID WE WILL INTEGRATE. AND IT WAS A BOLD MOVE. OTHER SOUTHERN SUPERINTENDENTS DIDN'T DO THAT. BUT HE FELT HE HAD INTEGRATED SUCCESSFUL THE SCHOOLS SO FAR AND HE FELT HE COULD DO THIS IN LITTLE ROCK, AND HE WORKED INCREDIBLY HARD TO DEVELOP A PROGRAM TO START THIS WHOLE PROCESS IN 1957 IN LITTLE ROCK. THE SUMMER BEFORE -- AND HE THOUGHT HE HAD SOLD THIS TO COMMUNITY, AND MOST PEOPLE THOUGHT THAT IT WAS GOING TO -- ALTHOUGH NOBODY REALLY -- THE WHITE COMMUNITY REALLY DIDN'T WANT IT, IT WAS THE LAW OF THE LAND, AND IT WAS GOING TO GO THROUGH. BUT IN THE SUMMER OF 1957, THE WHITE CITIZENS COUNCIL, THE CAPITAL CITIZENS COUNCIL IN LITTLE ROCK MOUNTED A STRONG, WELL-FUNDED CAMPAIGN, NEWSPAPER AND SPEAKERS, OPPOSING INTEGRATION AND CALLING ON GOVERNOR FAW BUS TO STOP IT. HE HAD PROMISED IN THE SUMMER OF 19 56 THAT HE WOULD STOP IT IF HE HAD TO. AND CALLING ON VIRGIL BLOSSOM, WHY DO WE HAVE TO DO THIS? AND SPINNING OUT ALL THE PSYCHOSEXUAL THEMES IN THE NEWSPAPERS THAT WERE AT THE HEART, I THINK MAYBE STILL ARE AT THE HEART, OF AMERICAN RACISM. ASKING QUESTIONS IN THE NEWSPAPERS LIKE, MR. BLOSSOM, IF WE HAVE INTEGRATION THIS FALL AND THE BLACK KIDS DECIDE TO TALK DRAMA COURSES, IF WE HAVE A SCHOOL PLAY WHERE THERE ARE LOVE SCENES, WILL THE BLACK BOYS BE ALLOWED TO PARTICIPATE IN LOVE SCENES WITH OUR WHITE DAUGHTERS?

STEVE BARNES: A LITTLE MORE VISCERAL THAN THAT, ACTUALLY, THE CAMPAIGN.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: WILL THE BLACK BOYS BE ALLOWED TO COME TO THE SCHOOL DANCES? SO THE QUESTION WAS VERY CLEAR THAT WHAT WE'RE WORRIED ABOUT HERE IS GIVING BLACK MEN ACCESS TO OUR WHITE DAUGHTERS, AND THAT'S WHY I TITLED THE BOOK "TURN AWAY THY SON" BECAUSE THAT THEME GETS PLAYED ON THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE CRISIS IN WAYS THAT WERE SURPRISING TO ME TO SEE HOW OPENLY THEY STATED THEIR FEARS OF WHAT THEY CALLED RACE MIXING. THAT IT WOULD LEAD TO THE DOWNFALL OF WHITE SUPREMACY AND SOUTHERN CIVILIZATION. AND THIS WAS A VERY CLOSELY HELD BELIEF --

STEVE BARNES: FLOWER OF GIRL --

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: VIRGIL PANICKED. HE GOT MANY THREATS OVER THE TELEPHONE THAT HIS PHONE WOULD BE BOMBED. HE HAD A SHOT THROUGH THE KITCHEN. HIS WIFE PICKED UP THE PHONE AND WAS THREATENED. HE PANICKED. AND HE WENT, AT THE INSTRUCTIONS OF THE SCHOOL BOARD, AND PLEASES WITH FAUBUS TO MAKE A STATEMENT THAT HE WOULD NOT ALLOW VIOLENCE, AND FAUBUS RESPONDED, VIRGIL, WHOA, JUST A MINUTE. THIS IS YOUR PLAN. YOU VOLUNTEERED TO DO THIS. I KNEW THIS WAS POLITICAL POISON. I DON'T WANT TO BE INVOLVED. I HAVEN'T BEEN INVOLVED. AT HOXIE, I DIDN'T INTERVENE THERE AT ALL. I DON'T INTEND TO INTERVENE. THIS IS A LOCAL ISSUE. THAT'S THE -- THAT'S THE TIGHTROPE THAT ORVAL FAUBUS WANTED TO BE ABLE TO ROCK TO STAY OUT OF IT. BUT BLOSSOM GOT MORE AND MORE CONCERNED AND PRESSED FAUBUS MORE, AND FOLLOWING FAUBUS SAID HE DOGGED HIS DAYS. HE CAME TO HIS MANAGES AT NIGHT AND CALLED HIM ALL DURING THE DAY OOPTION AND KEPT TELLING STORIES HE WAS HEARING ABOUT THE DANGER OF VIOLENCE. SO TO MAKE A LONG STORY SHORT -- AND IT'S REALLY HARD TO MAKE A LONG STORY SHORT BECAUSE ALL THE DETAILS ARE SO IMPORTANT -- BUT THE SCHOOL BOARD -- SOME MEMBERS OF THE SCHOOL BOARD, INCLUDING BLOSSOM, THE SUPERINTENDENT, ENTERED INTO AN ARRANGEMENT WITH THE FEDERAL JUDGE, JOHN MILLER, THAT IF THEY COULD FIND SOMEONE TO BRING AN INJUNCTION AGAINST THEMSELVES, AGAINST THE SCHOOL BOARD, CALLING FOR -- ENJOINING THE SCHOOL BOARD FROM INTEGRATING IN THE FALL, THAT IF THAT WENT TO THE FEDERAL JUDGE HE WOULD UPHOLD IT. AND THEY EXPLAINED THE SCHEME TO FAUBUS, AND FAUBUS FOUGHT ON AND FOUND THEM A PLAINTIFF, MARY THOMASON, AND THE WORLD EXCUSED -- ASSUMED SINCE SHE WAS THE SECRETARY OF THE MOTHERS LEAGUE THAT SHE WAS ACTING ON BEHALF OF THE COUNCIL. SHE WAS NOT, SHE WAS A SCHOOL BOARD PLAINTIFF. AND THE CHANCERY JUDGE DID ISSUE AN INJUNCTION AGAINST INTEGRATION STARTING THE NEXT WEEK, AND ARCHIE HOUSE, THE FINAL SCHOOL BOARD ATTORNEY, WASN'T IN ON THE SCHEME, WALKED RIGHT OVER TO THE SCHOOL HOUSE AND WALKED OVER TO THE FEDERAL JUDGE FOR A COURT INJUNCTION, AND THE FEDERAL JUDGE STEPPED DOWN. JOHN MILLER RECUSEED HIMSELF. TWO DAYS LATER IT WAS ANNOUNCED HE WAS A CANDIDATE FOR THE EIGHT CIRCUIT COURT APPEALS. OBVIOUSLY HE DIDN'T WANT TO BE INVOLVED IN SOMETHING THAT COULD DAMAGE HIS CAREER. AND SO FEDERAL JUDGE DAVIES INSISTED THAT THEY GO AHEAD.

STEVE BARNES: HE WAS FLOWN DOWN, OF COURSE --

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: FROM NORTH DAKOTA AND KNEW NOTHING ABOUT THE SITUATION IN LITTLE ROCK. SO IT'S MUCH MORE COMPLICATED THAN IT'S ALWAYS BEEN PORTRAYED.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: GO AHEAD WITH MR. HAYES BECAUSE YOU MENTIONED THAT -- HE WAS A VERY CLOSE FRIEND OF MY FATHER'S, AND MY GRANDFATHER WAS CONGRESSMAN FROM LITTLE ROCK IN THAT DISTRICT AND HAD MENTORED BROOKS THROUGH SCHOOL WHEN HE WAS AT GEORGETOWN OR GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY. SO HE WAS IN AND OUT A LOT, AND STEEL HAYES WAS A CLOSE FRIEND OF MY DAD'S, AND I KNEW THEM ALL.

STEVE BARNES: THIS IS BROOKS'S SOON.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: BROOKS'S SON, STEEL. SO I FELT UNCOMFORTABLE WRITING ABOUT BROOKS IN ANY WAYS THAT WERE NOT COMPLETELY COMPLIMENTARY BECAUSE HE HAS BEEN SEEN TO BE THE HEROIC FIGURE WHO TRIED TO WORK OUT A COMPROMISE AND LOST HIS SEAT IN CONGRESS AS A RESULT. BUT I AM PERSUADED AND WRITE IN THE BOOK THAT HE WAS MOTIVATED LARGELY BY A DESIRE TO BE APPOINTED FEDERAL JUDGE. THERE WAS AN EMPTY FEDERAL JUDGESHIP IN LITTLE ROCK, AND HE WAS A DEMOCRAT, AND HE WANTED TO BE APPOINTED BY A REPUBLICAN ADMINISTRATION. AND SHERMAN ADAMS, THE CHIEF OF STAFF, HAD INDICATED TO HIM THAT HE WAS A CANDIDATE.

STEVE BARNES: [INAUDIBLE]

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: RIGHT. SO I THINK THAT WAS AN IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION IN HAYS'S EFFORT TO BRING FAUBUS AND EISENHOWER TOGETHER, AND HE INDICATED LATER HE REALLY WAS WORKING TO GET FAUBUS TO CAPITULATE. HE WAS TRY TO GO SELL THE MESSAGE THAT FAUBUS NEEDED TO BACK DOWN.

STEVE BARNES: DOING THE RIGHT THING FOR MIXED MOTIVES?

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: I THINK THAT'S THE WAY HUMAN BEINGS OPERATE. I THINK THAT OUR SELF-INTEREST IS ALWAYS FIRST AND FOREMOST.

STEVE BARNES: YOU MENTIONED THAT -- THAT MR. FAUBUS HAD TOLD -- HAD SAID LOOK, I DIDN'T INTERFERE WITH HOXIE. ARKANSAS AND A NUMBER OF SCHOOL DISTRICTS HAD ALREADY INTEGRATED BEFORE '57. SURELY MR. FAUBUS, AS YOU POINT OUT IN THE BOOK, THAT HOXIE WAS INTEGRATED NOT COMPLETELY WITHOUT DIFFICULTY.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: RIGHT.

STEVE BARNES: THERE WAS SUBSTANTIAL FEDERAL INVOLVEMENT IN THAT. SO DID HE NOT REALIZE, IN YOUR ESTIMATION, THAT AT SOME POINT OR ANOTHER HE WAS NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO REMAIN ALOOF, CERTAINLY NOT WITH PRESSURE FROM HIS RIGHT?

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: HE HOPED THAT HE WOULD BE ABLE TO, BUT HE REALIZED IN THE ELECTION IN THE SUMMER OF 1956 THAT THIS WAS A MUCH MORE EMOTIONAL ISSUE THAN HE HAD UNDERSTOOD. HE WAS RUNNING AGAINST JIM JOHNSON FOR THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION, AND JOHNSON USED THE STANDARD RACE MIXING ARGUMENTS THAT THAT EVERYONE KNOWS THAT INTEGRATION IS GOING TO LEAD TO INTERMARRIAGE. FAUBUS HAD GROWN UP IN NORTHWEST ARKANSAS. HE HAD NOT KNOWN BLACK PEOPLE UNTIL HE WAS 23 YEARS OLD. HE WAS NOT INFECTED WITH THE DISEASE OF RACISM THAT PEOPLE FROM OTHER PARTS OF THE SOUTH WERE, SO HE DIDN'T UNDERSTAND IT CLEARLY. BUT HE DID UNDERSTAND POLITICS, AND IN THAT CAMPAIGN IN THE SUMMER OF '56, HE REALIZED THAT THIS WAS SOMETHING THAT ANIMATED ARKANSAS'S VOTERS. AND SO HE DID BEGIN TO MOVE MORE AND MORE TO THE RIGHT. HE WAS, ABOVE ALL OTHER THINGS, A POLITICIAN, AND HE WAS GOING TO PLAY TO THE AUDIENCE. BUT HE GENUINELY BELIEVED THAT THIS ISSUE OF SCHOOL DESEGREGATION WOULD SINK ANY POLITICIAN WHO WAS INVOLVED WITH IT.

STEVE BARNES: AND ONE READS YOUR BOOK WITH GRIMLY FASCINATED BY SO MUCH OF THE LITTLE ROCK ESTABLISHMENT -- THE STATE ESTABLISHMENT SAYING, LOOK, WE DON'T LIKE IT ANY BETTER THAN YOU DO, BUT THE ADVOCATES OF THE BLOSSOM PLAN OR FOR KEEPING SCHOOLS -- IT'S THE LAW. WE HAVE TO FOLLOW THE LAW.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: RIGHT.

STEVE BARNES: WAS THERE NO ONE WHO WANTED THE -- TO INTEGRATE BECAUSE IT WAS THE RIGHT THING?

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: NO. THERE WAS NOT. ADOLPHINE FLETCHER TERRY WAS THE STANDARD THERE IN LITTLE ROCK OF CAUSES, AND SHE WAS HEARTSICK OF WHAT SHE SAW HAPPENING, BUT THERE WERE NO PEOPLE IN IMPLEMENTS OF AUTHORITY, IN ELECTED POSITIONS, WHO WERE WILLING TO STEP OUT AND SAY THIS IS RIGHT AND WE NEED TO DO IT, FROM PRESTON EISENHOWER ON DOWN.

STEVE BARNES: EXPLORE THAT FOR A SECOND. WE'VE GOT A COUPLE, THREE MINUTES REMAINING. IS THIS A FAILURE OF WILL, FAILURE OF POLITICAL WILL, OR JUST A REFLECTION? FAILURE OF LEADERSHIP?

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: THIS IS A MAJOR CULTURAL CHANGE THAT'S BEING IMPOSED FROM ABOVE. FOR 60 YEARS WE'VE HAD SEGREGATION, AND THE LAW HAS SAID TO YOUR GRANDMOTHER AND YOUR MOTHER AND YOUR -- AND YOURSELF THAT THIS IS -- THAT THIS IS ACCEPTABLE, THAT THIS IS LEGAL, THAT THIS IS MORAL. YOU'VE GROWN UP IN A CULTURE, AS I DID, WITH THE SEPARATE WATER FOUNTAINS, WHERE YOU THINK THAT THAT'S ACCEPTABLE. THIS IS A MAJOR ADJUSTMENT THAT IS BEING REQUIRED, TO BRING YOURSELF AROUND TO SEE THAT IT'S NOT RIGHT, THAT IT'S IMMORAL TO HAVE THE SCALES FALL FROM YOUR EYES. AND VERY FEW POLITICIANS ARE STRONG ENOUGH IN THEIR BELIEFS TO BE WILLING TO STEP OUT FRONT AND LEAD WHERE THEY THINK MORALLY WE NEED TO GO. AND THAT HAPPENED IN THE RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY TOO. SO FEW MINISTERS STEPPED OUT AHEAD OF THEIR CONGREGATION.

STEVE BARNES: I WAS STRUCK IN YOUR BOOK BY HOW MUCH SCRIPTURE WAS USED TO DEFEND AMERICAN APARTHEID.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: IT'S THE SAME SCRIPTURE THAT WAS USED TO DEFEND SLAVERY. YOU CAN READ THE BIBLE TO SAY LOTS OF THINGS. THAT WAS AN OLD LINE OF ARGUMENT. STEVE A COUPLE MINUTES REMAINING. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I THINK YOU AND A PREVIOUS BIOGRAPHY -- [INAUDIBLE] -- YEAH, HE WAS HARDLY -- HE HARDLY FITS THE IMAGE OF THE BILL BOW OF MISSISSIPPI IN TERMS OF HIS UPBRINGING OR PERSONAL OUTLOOK, AND I THINK IN HIS BOOK, HE GOT ONE THING MONUMENTALLY BIBLICALLY WRONG, IF I REMEMBER RIGHT. ARE YOU EXONERATING MR. FAUBUS?

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: ABSOLUTELY NOT. IF YOU READ MY BOOK, YOU WILL SEE THAT IN NO WAY TO I REHABILITATE HIM OR EXONERATE HIM. IN MANY WAYS, MANY PEOPLE HAVE SAID THEY CAME OUT FROM READING THE BOOK THINKING -- FEELING EVEN WORSE TOWARD HIM THAN THEY HAD BEFORE THEY STARTED. WHAT I AM TRYING TO DO IS BE FAIR AND TO SHOW THAT THE SITUATION WAS MUCH MORE COMPLICATED THAN IT HAS BEEN PORTRAYED. WE WANT SIMPLE ANSWERS, AND IT CERTAINLY IS EASY TO BLAME EVERYTHING ON THE BAD GUYS. AND I ALSO THINK MANY PEOPLE HAVE AN AGENDA WHEN THEY WENT TO BLAME ORVAL FAUBUS FOR ALL OF THE BAD THAT HAPPENED IN LITTLE ROCK. THAT EXON RATES THEM FROM FEELING THAT THEY HAD A ROLE TO PLAY AND THAT THEY WERE SOMEHOW IMPLICATED IN THE RACIST CULTURE.

STEVE BARNES: WE ARE ABOUT TO CELEBRATE THE 50th ANNIVERSARY OF THE CENTRAL HIGH EPISODE. WHERE ARE WE NOW, IN YOUR ESTIMATION, HAVING DONE 30 YEARS OF RESEARCH ON IT?

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: WELL, THERE'S NO QUESTION WE'VE COME A LONG WAY. THE WORLD IS VASTLY DIFFERENT FROM THE WAY IT WAS IN 1957. BLACK PEOPLE LEGALLY HAVE OPPORTUNITIES AND RIGHTS THAT THEY DIDN'T HAVE IN 1957. BUT ACROSS THE NATION AND CERTAINLY IN LITTLE ROCK, OUR COMMUNITY -- OUR NEIGHBORHOODS ARE MORE SEGREGATED NOW THAN THEY WERE 50 YEARS AGO. WE HAVE WHITE FLIGHT, WE HAVE PRIVATE SCHOOLS, AND THE -- THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS HAVE -- HAVE MANY PROBLEMS OF DISCIPLINE THAT DIDN'T EXIST 50 YEARS AGO. SO THE WORLD HAS CHANGED, BUT IT HASN'T GONE AS FAR AS IT NEED TO BY ANY MEANS.

STEVE BARNES: ELIZABETH JACOWAY, THANK YOU VERY MUCH

STEVE BARNES: ELIZABETH JACOWAY, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THIS HALF HOUR.

STEVE BARNES: HELLO AGAIN, EVERYONE, AND THANKS FOR JOINING US. MORE WITH DR. ELIZABETH JACOWAY, THE AUTHOR OF "TURN AWAY THY SON", HER HIGHLY RESEARCHED ACCOUNT OF THE EVENTS OF 1957 AND BEFORE AND IMMEDIATELY AFTER, CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL. THANKS AGAIN FOR ALL THIS TIME.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: THANK YOU. I'M DELIGHTED TO BE HERE.

STEVE BARNES: EARLIER IN THE CONVERSATION WE TALKED ABOUT HOW SO MANY GOOD MEN, PILLARS OF LITTLE ROCK ESTABLISHMENT, OF THE ARKANSAS POLITICAL ESTABLISHMENT, TURNED AWAY, THAT THERE WAS A FAILURE OF WILL, A FAILURE OF LEADERSHIP, AND IT WAS A CASE IN A GREAT MANY INSTANCES, AS YOU NOTE, OF GOOD MEN WHO DID TOO LITTLE OR NOTHING. BUT IN READING THIS HIGHLY DETAILED ACCOUNT OF SOME OF THE RHETORIC AND SOME OF THE ACTIONS SURROUNDING 1957, IT'S A LITTLE DIFFICULT TO SAY THAT THEY WERE ALL GOOD MEN. THERE WERE SOME -- EVEN BY THE SOUTHERN THOUGHTS OF 1957, THERE WAS SOME PRETTY VILE STUFF BEING TOSSED ONTO THE AIR THERE. IT'S DIFFICULT TO BELIEVE 50 YEARS LATER THAT EVEN IN 1957 THIS WAS IN ANY WAY ACCEPTABLE. BUT TO A LARGE MEASURE, IT WAS.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: WELL, THAT'S A PART OF THE CHALLENGE OF THE HISTORIAN IS TO -- IS TO CARRY YOU BACK INTO ANOTHER TIME. IT'S IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT WE NEED TO APPROACH THE PAST AS IF IT WERE A FOREIGN COUNTRY AND HAVE RESPECT FOR THE PEOPLE AND THE ATTITUDES THERE. WE -- THEY LOOK LIKE US, THEY TALK LIKE US, WE KIND OF THINK THOSE PEOPLE WERE REALLY US IN AN EARLIER TIME. THEY WEREN'T. THEY GREW UP IN AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT CULTURE WITH A DIFFERENT SET OF VALUES. AND THINGS THAT SOUND APPALLING TO US TODAY WERE ACCEPTABLE AND TAKEN FOR GRANTED. IT'S JUST -- IT'S IMPORTANT TO KEEP IN MIND THAT THESE WERE PEOPLE WHO GREW UP SURROUNDED BY A CULTURE OF SEGREGATION. IT WAS NOT ONLY ACCEPTABLE TO THEM, IT HAD BEEN ENDORSED JUST A YEAR BEFORE BY THE WHOLE SOUTHERN CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION. ALL OF THE SOUTHERN CONGRESSMEN EXCEPT THREE SIGNED THE SOUTHERN MANIFESTO, IN WHICH THEY SAID THE BROWN DECISION WAS DECIDED IN ERROR AND THAT WE PLAN TO DO EVERYTHING LEGALLY POSSIBLE TO OVERTURN IT.

STEVE BARNES: ALL OF THE ARKANSAS DELEGATION.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: ALL OF THE ARKANSAS DELEGATION SIGNED THAT. AND SO THE LITTLE GUY AND THE MAN ON THE STREET THOUGHT THAT HE WAS IN GOOD COMPANY WITH HIS LEADERS. AND YOU ASKED ME EARLIER IF THERE WAS ANYBODY ON THE GROUND WHO WAS MORALLY DISPOSED TO TAKE A LEADERSHIP POSITION AND STEP OUT FRONT AND SAY INTEGRATION IS RIGHT, AND IT'S IMPORTANT THAT I SAY THAT YES, HARRY ASHMORE, THE EDITOR OF THE ARKANSAS GAZETTE, BELIEVED THAT INTEGRATION WAS COMING, THAT IT WAS INEVITABLE, AND THAT IT HAD TO BE ACCEPTED AS THE LAW OF THE LAND. BUT EVEN ASHMORE, A SOUTH CAROLINA BOY, WAS NOT READY AT THAT POINT IN 1957 TO GO THE WHOLE NINE YARDS AND CALL FOR COMPLETE AND TOTAL AND IMMEDIATE INTEGRATION. IT WAS -- IT WAS -- THE LITTLE ROCK SCHOOL BOARD, EVEN THOUGH THEY VOLUNTEERED, SAID THEY HEDGED -- IN ALL OF THEIR PUBLIC PRESENTATIONS THEY HEDGED BY SAYING WE'RE GOING TO STRETCH THIS OUT AS LONG AS WE CAN. WE'RE GOING TO DO AS LITTLE AS WE CAN. AND THIS WAS A FORWARD POSITION.

STEVE BARNES: MORE ON ASHMORE IN DUE COURSE. STARTING RIGHT NOW. IN MR. ASHMORE'S CASE, WAS HE THE QUESTION OF HIS ADVOCACY OF THE GRADUALIST APPROACH?

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: YES, RIGHT.

STEVE BARNES: OF COURSE, HE WOULD DO IT MUCH FASTER THAN THAN A LOT OF HIS CONTEMPORARIES WOULD IN LITTLE ROCK, BUT IN ADVOCATING THAT GRADUALIST APPROACH, WAS THAT A TACTIC ON HIS PART OR DID HE HONESTLY BELIEVE?

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: HE HONESTLY BELIEVED. THE BOOK HE WROTE -- IRONICALLY, THE SPRING AND SUMMER BEFORE THE CRISIS, HE WROTE A BOOK ENTITLED "THE EPITAPH FOR DIXIE," HE ARGUED THAT GREAT FORCES ARE ARGUING HERE AND CHANGING THE SOUTH, ORGANIZATION, MECHANIZATION, THE MOVEMENT OF BLACKS TO THE NORTHERN CITIES, ALL OF THESE THINGS ARE MAJOR CHANGES THAT ARE HAVING A MAJOR EFFECT ON SOUTHERN CULTURE, AND THEY ARE GOING TO LEAD TO THE DEATH OF THE OLD WAYS, ESPECIALLY ONE-PARTY POLITICS AND SEGREGATION. AND THESE THINGS ARE COMING AND THEY'RE GOING TO HAPPEN, AND THEY'RE INEVITABLE. AND HE EVEN WENT SO FAR AS TO ARGUE THAT THE SOUTH'S BUSINESSMEN ARE THE ONES WHO ARE GOING TO MAKE SURE THAT DESEGREGATION HAPPENS, GOES OFF WITHOUT A HITCH, BECAUSE THEY UNDERSTAND THAT YOU CAN'T BRING INDUSTRY IN, YOU CAN'T HAVE A STRONG WORK ENVIRONMENT IF YOU DON'T HAVE PEACE AND IF YOU DON'T HAVE SCHOOLS. AND THEN, OF COURSE, THE WHOLE WORLD BLEW UP UNDER HIS VERY NOSE. BUT ASHMORE, EVEN THOUGH HE PHILOSOPHICALLY, INTELLECTUALLY BELIEVED GENUINELY THAT THIS WAS INEVITABLE, IT WAS COMING, IT WAS THE LAW OF THE LAND, HE WAS SO RATIONAL HE FELT THIS IS SOMETHING THAT WE'RE JUST GOING TO HAVE TO ACCEPT BUT ACCEPT GRADUALLY. BUT EVEN ASHMORE HAD -- WAS AWARE. HE CALLED IT ABSURD. THAT WAS ONE OF HIS FAVORITE WORDS. BUT HE -- HE WAS AWARE OF THE IRRATIONALITY AT THE HEART OF SO MUCH SOUTHERN THOUGHT, THE CONCERN ABOUT THE LOSS OF WHITE SUPREMACY AND THE LOSS OF THE CONTROL OF BLACK SEXUALITY WAS WHAT IT REALLY CAME DOWN TO. SO ASHMORE ARGUED -- AND YOU KNOW, USE THE ARKANSAS GAZETTE TO ARGUE THAT THIS IS SOMETHING THAT WE NEED TO ACCEPT. AND HE WON A PULITZER PRIZE FOR ARGUING IT. BUT I'M PERSUADED THAT ASHMORE'S MAJOR CONCERN WAS PRESERVATION OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY. HE CALLED THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY MY OWN TRUE LOVE, AND HE HAD WORKED IN 1956 FOR THE STEVENSON CAMPAIGN. SO HE BLENDED POLITICS AND JOURNALISM IN A WAY THAT JOURNALISTS CAN'T DO TODAY. BUT HE REALLY SAW HIMSELF AS AN ACTIVE PARTICIPANT IN POLITICS, AND HE HAD HAD A KEY ROLE IN ORVAL FAUBUS'S ADMINISTRATIONS. HE WROTE THE SPEECH THAT GOT FAUBUS ELECTED IN 1954, AND HE HAD HAD A STRONG HAND IN FAUBUS'S EARLIER ADMINISTRATION. SO WHEN -- WHEN HE CAME BACK FROM THE STEVENSON CAMPAIGN AND WROTE THE EPITAPH AND THEN ALL THIS BLEW UP IN HIS FACE, HE REALIZED THAT FAUBUS HAD COME OUT FROM UNDER HIS CONTROL, AND HE WAS GENUINELY AFRAID THAT THIS WAS THE OPENING GUN OF A SOUTHERN REVOLT, A NEW DIXIE REVOLT AGAINST THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY. SO I'M PERSUADED THAT ASHMORE WAS DRIVEN LARGELY BY A DESIRE TO BRING FAUBUS UNDER CONTROL BECAUSE OF THE DAMAGE THAT COULD BE DONE TO HIS OWN TRUE LOVE.

STEVE BARNES: WAS THAT -- WELL, ASSUMING THAT YOU'RE A HUNDRED PERCENT ACCURATE ON THAT, IS THAT -- SO WHAT?

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: WELL, THAT EXPLAINS A PART OF HIS -- OF HIS POSITION, AND IT WAS REGARDED AT THE TIME AS A VERY FORWARD POSITION. HE WAS REGARDED AS BEING MUCH MORE LIBERAL THAN HE MAY ACTUALLY HAVE BEEN WITH REGARD TO RACE BECAUSE HE --

STEVE BARNES: MR. ASHMORE OR MR. FAUBUS?

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: MR. ASHMORE BECAUSE HE WAS ALWAYS IN CLEAR JUXTAPOSITION WITH ORAL FAUBUS AND BECAME EACH OTHER'S WHIPPING BOYS. AND BOTH OF THEIR POSITIONS HARDENED IN RESPONSE TO EACH OTHER.

STEVE BARNES: INEVITABLE, I MEAN, GIVEN WHAT HAPPENED. BUT THE EDITORIALS THAT MR. -- THAT WON MR. ASHMORE AND THE GAZETTE THE PULITZER PRIZE HAVE AN OBVIOUS ELOQUENCE ABOUT THEM AND A HIGH OUTRAGE THAT STILL SHINES A HALF CENTURY LATER.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: YEAH. BUT YES, THEY DO. THEY'RE BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN AND THEY ARE VERY FORTH RIGHT, BUT THEY'RE VERY MILD AND MODERATE BY TODAY'S STANDARDS. THEY DON'T CALL FOR STORMING THE BARRICADES. THEY DON'T CALL FOR INTEGRATION NOW. THEY DON'T CALL FOR TOTAL INTEGRATION IMMEDIATELY. THEY CALL FOR AN ACCEPTANCE OF A VERY GRADUAL PLAN BECAUSE IT IS THE LAW OF THE LAND.

STEVE BARNES: LAW AND ORDER.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: LAW AND ORDER.

STEVE BARNES: THE OWNER AND EDITOR OF THE PAPER, MR. HEISKELL, RATHER FAMOUSLY, I THINK, WAS -- WHAT HE FOUND MOST REPUGNANT WAS THE LEADERSHIP OF THE SEGREGATIONISTS. HE WAS NOT ESPECIALLY ENAMORED OF THE IDEA OF RACIAL INTEGRATION.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: NOT AT ALL.

STEVE BARNES: BUT HE DID BELIEVE IN THE CONSTITUTION.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: ABSOLUTELY, HE BELIEVED IN LAW AND ORDER, BAA AS I SAY SOMEWHERE IN -- BUT AS I SAY SOMEWHERE IN THE BOOK, HIS DAUGHTER, LOUISE, AND HUGH PATTERSON BASICALLY HAD TO TAKE HIM BY THE HAND AND LEAD HIM INTO THE NEW WORLD OF THIS DESEGREGATION. HE WAS A SOUTHERNER WHO HAD LIVED HIS WHOLE LIFE UNDER SEGREGATION. WHEN HARRY ASHMORE --

STEVE BARNES: PICTURE OF A SOUTHERN GENERAL OF MR. GRAY HANGING IN HIS HOUSE. I'M NOT SURE WHICH ONE OF HIS ANCESTORS IT WAS. I'M SORRY. GO AHEAD.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: IT WAS ANOTHER ONE OF THOSE SOUTHERN GENERAL PORTRAITS IN ADOLPHINE FLETCHER TERRY'S HOUSE TOO. BUT MR. HEISKELL LOOKED OUT ACROSS HIS CITY WHEN HARRY ASHMORE AND HUGH PATTERSON APPROACHED HIM ABOUT THE POSITION THEY WANTED THE NEWSPAPER TO TAKE, AND HE SAID, TALKING ABOUT FAUBUS AND JIM JOHNSON AND OTHER SEGREGATIONISTS, I'M NOT GOING TO LET MEN LIKE THAT TAKE OVER MY CITY. HE JUST -- HE FELT A MORAL OBLIGATION TO ASSUME A LEADERSHIP ROLE TO DO THE RIGHT THING, WHICH WAS TO OBEY THE LAW.

STEVE BARNES: IN FACT, THEY DID TAKE IT OVER FOR A TIME.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: WELL, TO A CERTAIN EXTENT. THEY CERTAINLY HAD AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF INFLUENCE.

STEVE BARNES: THEY CLOSED THE SCHOOLS.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: WELL, IT WASN'T THOSE -- IT WASN'T JUST THE OLD SEGREGATIONIST LEADERS WHO CLOSED THE SCHOOLS.

STEVE BARNES: RIGHT.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: BECAUSE THAT WAS -- THAT WAS VOTED UPON BY THE PEOPLE OF LITTLE ROCK, AND THEY VOTED 3-1.

STEVE BARNES: AND THEY WERE CERTAINLY DRIVING.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: YEAH.

STEVE BARNES: NOW, YOU MENTIONED -- LET ME GO BACK FOR A SECOND, IF I MAY. BOTH YOU AND THE BIOGRAPHER, MR. FAUBUS, ROY REED, YOU GO INTO, IF ANYTHING, EVEN GREATER DETAIL THAN ROY DID OF HIS BIOGRAPHY OF MR. FAUBUS ABOUT HIS ENORMOUS PRESSURE ON THE GOVERNOR FROM THE RIGHT AND JUSTICE JIM JOHNSON, I GUESS, WAS THE POINT MAN FOR ALL OF IT.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: HE WAS. JIM JOHNSON HAD REALIZED EARLY ON THAT THIS WAS HIS ISSUE, AND HE EXPECTED -- THE OPPOSITION TO INTEGRATION, AND HE EXPECTED TO RIDE THAT ISSUE INTO THE GOVERNOR'S MANSION. YOU KNOW, MOST ARKANSAS GOVERNORS --

STEVE BARNES: SINCERELY OR CYNICALLY?

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: BOTH. SINCERELY. HE GENUINELY BELIEVED ALL THAT STUFF. MOSTLY, THOUGH, JIM JOHNSON WAS COMING FROM A CONSTITUTIONAL STANDPOINT, THAT THIS IS FEDERAL LEGISLATING AND THAT THESE NINE OLD MEN, THE JUSTICES, HAVE LEGISLATED RATHER THAN PERFORMED THEIR FUNCTION AS JURISTS. AND THEREFORE, THIS IS AN ISSUE THAT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED IN ORDER TO PRESERVE THE TRUE MEANING OF THE CONSTITUTION. THAT WAS THE STATES' RIGHTS ARGUMENT THAT WAS ALWAYS USED.

STEVE BARNES: INTERPOSITION.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: INTERPOSITION WAS THE IDEA THAT JIM JOHNSON BROUGHT HOME TO ARKANSAS FROM VIRGINIA AND GOT HIS INTERPOSITION AMENDMENT ON THE BALLOT, GOT IT ACCEPTED IN THE FALL OF 1956.

STEVE BARNES: THE ADMISSION OF THOSE -- AND THE ADMISSION OF THOSE NINE BLACK YOUNGSTERS WAS, IN FACT, NOT AN END BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION. IT WAS THE BEGINNING. EVENTS CONTINUED TO CASCADE.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: OH, MY GOODNESS. THE ORIGINAL PROGRAM WAS THAT ALL -- ALL OF THE INITIAL INTEGRATION WAS GOING TO TAKE PLACE AT CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL, AND OF COURSE, THAT WAS THE ACHILLES HEEL OF THE WHOLE PLAN BECAUSE SINCE HALL HIGH SCHOOL WAS NOT GOING TO BE INTEGRATED AND THE ELITE OF THE TOWN SENT THEIR CHILDREN TO HALL, IT WAS A CLASS ISSUE WITH PEOPLE IN THE BLUE-COLLAR DISTRICT AT CENTRAL HIGH SAYING WHY ARE MY CHILDREN BEING ASKED TO GO THROUGH THIS ENORMOUS CULTURAL CHANGE WHEN MY BOSS IS NOT, AND I'M PERSUADED THAT IF HAUL HAD ALSO -- HALL HAD NOT INTEGRATED, WE PROBABLY WOULD NOT HAVE HAD THIS PROBLEM.

STEVE BARNES: REALLY?

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: YEAH. SO IT WAS ALL CONCENTRATED IN THE CENTRAL HIGH DISTRICT, AND THERE WERE 200 BLACK KIDS ELIGIBLE TO ATTEND CENTRAL HIGH, AND THE PRINCIPAL ASKED THEM THE SPRING BEFORE WHO WOULD LIKE TO GO, AND 87 SIGNED THE SHEET THAT THEY WOULD LIKE TO GO, AND THEY BROUGHT THIS BACK TO VIRGIL BLOSSOM, AND HE SAID, OH, THAT'S TOO MANY. SO THE PRINCIPALS THEN SCREENED THESE 87 KIDS -- OR IT MAY HAVE BEEN 85 -- AND PICKED OUT THE ONES THAT WERE THE BEST STUDENTS AND HAD THE BEST CITIZENSHIP AND THAT THEY THOUGHT WOULD BE THE MOST LIKELY TO ADJUST AND TO SUCCEED. AND CAME BACK TO BLOSSOM WITH A LIST OF 37. AND HE SAID THAT'S STILL TOO MANY. SO THOSE 37 KIDS HAD TO GO INDIVIDUALLY WITH THEIR PARENTS AND GO THROUGH AN INTERVIEW WITH VERY IMPOSING SUPERINTENDENT BLOSSOM, AND HE -- HE WORKED HARD TO PERSUADE THEM TO WITHDRAW THEIR REQUEST TO GO TO CENTRAL HIGH. HE POINTED OUT THAT IF THEY WENT TO CENTRAL, THEY COULD NOT PLAY SPORTS, THEY COULDN'T GO TO THE DANCES, THEY COULDN'T BE IN THE CLUBS, THEY COULDN'T BE IN THE GLEE CLUB OR THE CHOIR OR ANY OF THOSE EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES. SO OBVIOUSLY, IF A BOY WAS A GREAT FOOTBALL PLAYER AND HOPED TO GET A FOOTBALL SCHOLARSHIP TO COLLEGE, HE WAS GOING TO STAY AT HORACE MANN BECAUSE HE WASN'T GOING TO PLAY FOOTBALL AT CENTRAL HIGH, AND THAT GOT THE LIST DOWN TO 17. SO THERE WERE REALLY 17 KIDS. IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE LITTLE ROCK 17 INSTEAD OF THE LITTLE ROCK 9 -- WHO WERE PREPARED TO GO TO SCHOOL THAT FIRST DAY. BUT BECAUSE OF THE DANGERS OF VIOLENCE IN LITTLE ROCK THE WEEKEND BEFORE SCHOOL STARTED, EIGHT OF THE FAMILIES WITHDREW THEIR CHILDREN. MANY OF THEM HAD GOTTEN THREATS OVER THE TELEPHONE THAT THEY WOULD LOSE THEIR JOB OR, MORE SERIOUS THREAT. SO EIGHT OF THOSE KIDS WITHDREW. AND WHEN THE NINE STARTED TO SCHOOL THAT FIRST DAY, MS. BROWN TOLD ME WE WERE NAIVE THE FIRST DAY. AFTER THAT THEY WERE WARRIORS. THEY THOUGHT THAT -- MOST OF THEM THOUGHT THAT THEY WERE JUST GOING TO A BETTER SCHOOL, AND THEY ALL WANTED TO GO TO COLLEGE, AND THEY THOUGHT THAT A DEGREE FROM CENTRAL HIGH WOULD OFFER THEM SO MANY MORE OPPORTUNITIES, AND THEY WERE RIGHT. BECAUSE THERE WERE SO MANY MORE COURSES.

STEVE BARNES: ALL THE WAY AROUND IN THE WHITE COMMUNITY AND ALL THIS CLASS TENSION, FINALLY IT WAS A GROUP OF WOMEN WHO GOT TOGETHER IN MRS. TERRY'S PARLOR AND THE LITTLE ROCK BUSINESS COMMUNITY, FINALLY THEY COULD NOT TURN AWAY ANY LONGER FROM IT BECAUSE IT WAS HAVING, BY ALL ACCOUNTS, A PRETTY SERIOUS IMPACT UPON THE COMMERCIAL LIFE.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: COMMERCIAL LIFE OF THE CITY. BUT NOW, REALLY, THAT IS A NOTION THAT I DISAGREE WITH. I KNOW SARA MURPHY WROTE HER BOOK ABOUT THE WOMEN'S EMERGENCY COMMITTEE CALLING IT BREAKING THE SILENCE, AND HER ARGUMENT IS THAT THE BUSINESSMEN, THE MALE LEADERS OF THE COMMUNITY HAD BEEN SO FINALIST AND THAT THEY HAD HIT -- THEY HADN'T BEEN INVOLVED. ACTUALLY, THAT'S NOT QUITE ACCURATE. LITTLE ROCK HAD ALWAYS BEEN RUN IN THE PAST KIND OF LIKE A FEUDAL ENTITY AND A SMALL GROUP OF POWERFUL BUSINESSMEN MADE THE MAJOR DECISIONS ABOUT HOW IT WAS GOING TO BE RUN, A LOT OF KEY BUSINESSMEN, AND SO THAT'S THE WAY THINGS HAD GOTTEN ACCOMPLISHED IN LITTLE ROCK IN THE PAST. WHEN THE CRISIS BROKE, THESE BUSINESS LEADERS PULLED TOGETHER AND DID TRY TO CONTINUE THAT PAT ERB TERN OF WORKING BEHIND -- PATTERN OF WORKING BEHIND THE SCENES. THE FIRST EFFORT WAS A GROUP OF 25 OF THE FORMER PRESIDENTS OF THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE WHO GOT TOGETHER THE DAY AFTER THE TROOPS CAME IN, THE EISENHOWER'S 101st, AND STARTED TRYING TO COME UP WITH SOLUTIONS, WAYS TO APPROACH FAUBUS, WAYS TO MODERATE THE SITUATION. AND MANY OF THESE PEOPLE WORKED WITH THE SCHOOL BOARD, SO THEY WEREN'T -- THEY DIDN'T JUST ALL RUN AND HIDE. THERE WAS A YEAR OF EFFORT TO TRY TO COME TO SOME KIND OF SOLUTION. BUT ULTIMATELY, THE WOMEN'S EMERGENCY COMMITTEE RESPONDED TO ADOLPHINE TERRY'S CALL TO THE YOUNG LADIES FROM THE HEIGHTS TO COME DOWN AND MEET IN HER PARLOR, AND SHE WENT TO SEE HARRY ASHMORE, ONE OF THE FEW TIMES SHE HAD BEEN IN THE GAZETTE BUILDING, PUT ON HER HAT AND GLOVES AND SAT DOWN ACROSS THE TABLE FROM HIM AND SAID, MR. ASHMORE, THE MEN HAVE FAILED. I'M GOING TO CALL THE LADIES. [LAUGHTER] AND I EXPECT THE GAZETTE TO SUPPORT ME. AND SO, OF COURSE, THE GAZETTE DID SUPPORT HER. AND SHE ORGANIZED THE WOMEN'S EMERGENCY COMMITTEE TO OPEN OUR SCHOOLS, WHICH WAS REALLY A DANGEROUS EFFORT FOR A LOT OF WOMEN TO BE INVOLVED IN, AND THEY KEPT THEIR MEMBERSHIP VERY SECRET BECAUSE THEY KNEW THAT IF THEIR HUSBANDS WERE IDENTIFIED, IT WOULD AFFECT THEIR JOB.

STEVE BARNES: YOU EXPRESSED THE FEAR THAT -- THAT SO MUCH OF THE MATERIAL ATTENDANT TO THE EVENTS IN 1957 WAS KIND OF DRY. AWFUL LOT OF -- AWFUL LOT OF COURT DOCUMENTS AND AN AWFUL LOT -- BUT IT WAS -- I MEAN, AT LEAST IN YOUR WRITING, MAY I SAY, FAIRLY SPARKLES.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: THANK YOU. I'M DELIGHTED TO HEAR HAD A.

STEVE BARNES: PEOPLE MAY DISPUTE SOME OF YOUR WRITINGS, BUT I DON'T THINK THEY'LL BE ABLE TO DISPUTE HOW YOU BROUGHT THE TOWN BACK TO LIFE. IN ONE MAN'S OPINION, YOU'VE EVOKED BEAUTIFULLY THE ATMOSPHERICS OF THAT TIME.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: THANK YOU. GLAD TO HEAR IT. I TRIED TO WRITE THIS LIKE A NOVEL. I TRIED TO WRITE IT SO MY FRIENDS IN LITTLE ROCK KNEW WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM. IT'S BEEN SO COMPLICATED A STORY, AND IT'S BEEN SO EVERYSIMPLIFIED AS GOOD VERSUS BAD. BUT IT'S SO COMPLICATED, SO MANY CONFLICTS, AND IT'S REALLY A LEGAL STORY, AND IT'S HARD TO KEEP ALL THESE DOCUMENTS AND ALL THIS DRY MATERIAL STRAIGHT, BUT ULTIMATELY, A MAJOR SUPREME COURT DECISION GREW OUT OF THE LITTLE ROCK CRISIS THAT WAS A -- PROBABLY MORE IMPORTANT THAN BROWN IN ACTUALLY IMPLEMENTING DESEGREGATION. COOPER V. AARON, COOPER BEING THE PRESIDENT OF THE SCHOOL BOARD, THE SUPREME COURT FOUND IN SEPTEMBER OF 1958 THAT THE LITTLE ROCK SCHOOL DISTRICT HAD BROUGHT SUIT ASKING FOR A DELAY, SAYING THE LITTLE ROCK NINE HAVE BEEN SO PERSECUTED INSIDE THE SCHOOL, IT HAS CAUSED SO MUCH UPHEAVEAL THAT WE CAN'T HAVE A TEACHING ATMOSPHERE. WE CAN'T MAINTAIN QUALITY EDUCATION. AND SO THEY WENT BACK TO THE FEDERAL JUDGE AND ASKED FOR A DELAY, AND HE WAS A SOUTHERN BOY FROM HOPE, HARRY LEMLEY, AND HE GRANTED A DELAY OF TWO AND A HALF YEARS, WHICH WAYNE UPTON, PRESIDENT OF THE SCHOOL BOARD, ADMITTED ON THE STAND WOULD GIVE ORVAL FAUBUS TIME TO BE OUT OF OFFICE. BUT THE NAACP IMMEDIATELY APPEALED THAT DECISION, AND IT WENT ALL THE WAY TO THE SUPREME COURT, AND THE SUPREME COURT DECIDED THAT THE USE OF VIOLENCE TO TRY TO PROHIBIT INTEGRATION IS NOT AN ACCEPTABLE REASON FOR NOT INTEGRATING.

STEVE BARNES: WE MEANT WHAT WE SAID THE FIRST TIME.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: THAT'S RIGHT. AND IF THEY HAD ACCEPTED THE ARGUMENTS OF THE SCHOOL BOARD, THEN ANY SCHOOL -- SOUTHERN SCHOOL DISTRICT COULD HAVE CREATED VIOLENCE AND GOTTEN A DELAY.

STEVE BARNES: YOU DESCRIBED IT AS SO MUCH MUCH -- I THINK SO MUCH OF THIS IS LEGAL, BUT IT'S ALSO SOCIAL AND CULTURAL, AND IT'S HARD TO TELL WHERE ONE FACET OR COMPONENT BEGINS AND THE OTHER ENDS. IT'S SO INTERWOVEN. LOOKING FORWARD NOW AS WE OBSERVE THE 50th ANNIVERSARY, HAVE WE COME THAT FAR? YOU NOTED THAT SEGREGATION REMAINS JUST A FACT WHETHER WE WANT IT OR NOT, WHETHER IT'S DESIRABLE OR NOT -- FEW WOULD ARGUE THAT IT IS -- BUT IT'S JUST A REALITY. HAVE WE LEARNED THAT MUCH? ARE WE STILL CAPTIVE TO OLD MYTHS OR WHAT? YOUR ESTIMATION? YOU'RE A DAUGHTER OF THE SOUTH.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: YEAH. WELL, I CONCLUDE IN MY BOOK THAT UNTIL WE REALLY UNDERSTAND WHAT HAPPENED HERE IN LITTLE ROCK IN 1957, UNTIL WE'RE WILLING TO BE HONEST ABOUT THE VARIOUS ROLES PEOPLE PLAYED AND THE ATTITUDES THAT WERE EXPRESSED, WE REALLY ARE NOT ABLE TO MOVE BEYOND IT. WE'RE NOT ABLE TO HEAL. THERE IS SO MUCH BITTERNESS IN LITTLE ROCK RIGHT NOW, PEOPLE ON ALL SIDES HAVE STRONG FEELINGS ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED IN LITTLE ROCK IN 1957. IT'S BEEN AMAZING TO ME, AT THE 40th ANNIVERSARY, I SERVED ON A COMMITTEE TO TRY TO PLAN THE NEW VISITOR'S CENTER, AND EVERYBODY WHO SAT AROUND THAT PLANNING COMMITTEE TABLE HAD AN AGENDA. THEY HAD A WAY THAT THEY WANTED THE STORY TO BE TOLD. AND I WAS AMAZED AT HOW STRONG THE FEELINGS STILL ARE IN LITTLE ROCK ABOUT 1957, AND AS A CONSEQUENCE, I THINK THAT THAT SPILLS OVER INTO OUR INTERRACIAL INTERACTIONS IN THE PRESENT. AND IT CONTINUES TO HAVE AN IMPACT ON THE PRESENT. THAT'S WHAT -- THAT'S WHAT WILLIAM FAULKNER SAID ABOUT THE PAST. IT'S NEVER OVER.

STEVE BARNES: IS THERE -- AS AN HISTORIAN, AS DAUGHTER OF THE SOUTH, AS SOMEONE WHO HAS LIVED WITH THIS STORY FOR 30 YEARS, ACCUMULATING TWO VANLOADS OF -- IS THERE A -- PUT IT THIS WAY -- IS THERE A WAY OUT? AND IS THERE A WAY FORWARD? IS THERE CONSENSUS, OR IS THAT STILL ELUSIVE?

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: NO, THERE'S NOT A CONSENSUS, AND I WISH I WERE SMART ENOUGH TO KNOW WHAT THE WAY OUT IS, BUT --

STEVE BARNES: OR A WAY FORWARD MAY BE A BETTER WAY TO PUT IT. I'M SORRY.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: I THINK WE HAVE TO HAVE MORE GENUINE INTEGRATION. WE HAVE TO KNOW EACH OTHER. AND WE'VE REALLY MOVED APART. THERE'S SO LITTLE ACTIVITY ACROSS THE COLOR LINE IN TERMS OF FRIENDSHIPS, IN TERMS OF GOING TO CHURCH TOGETHER. IT'S JUST NOT THAT COMMON TO SEE -- TO SEE GENUINE BLACK AND WHITE INTERACTIONS, AND I THINK THAT IS -- IS A TRAGIC COMPONENT OF THE PRESENT SITUATION, THAT THERE IS -- THERE IS -- THERE CONTINUES TO BE SO MUCH HOSTILITY AND DIVISION ACROSS THE COLOR LINE.

STEVE BARNES: ONE MINUTE REMAINING. I'M STRUCK BY HOW MANY ESSAYS THAT I HAVE WRITTEN ABOUT YOUNG BLACK MEN AND WOMEN WHO WONDER WHAT ALL THE FUSS WAS ABOUT. THEY WERE NOT AS ABSORBED WITH MATTERS -- THE '57 NOTION OF EQUALITY, THE IMPERATIVE OF INTEGRATION, LET ME PUT IT THAT WAY. THEY DON'T BELIEVE IT'S QUITE THE IMPERATIVE THAT THEIR ELDERS DID. DOES THAT STRIKE YOU AS BEWILDERED OR --

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: I THINK THAT'S TRUE. I THINK THAT'S TRUE. I'VE JUST BEEN READING JUAN WILLIAMS' BOOK "ENOUGH," AND HE TALKS ABOUT SO MANY OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS WARRIORS MADE SUCH TREMENDOUS SACRIFICES FOR BLACK ADVANCEMENT, AND YET SO MANY YOUNG BLACK KIDS THESE DAYS AREN'T TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE OPPORTUNITIES THAT -- THAT THEIR ELDERS FOUGHT FOR. AND I THINK THAT IS TRUE AND IS TRAGIC.

STEVE BARNES: THE DIALOGUE CONTINUES. DR. ELIZABETH JACOWAY.

ELIZABETH JACOWAY: I WISH I KNEW THE ANSWERS. THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

STEVE BARNES: WELL, THANK YOU FOR BEING PART OF IT. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US. YOU FOR BEING PART OF IT. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US. SEE YOU NEXT TIME.

AETN.org > Programs > Barnes and... > Barnes and... A Conversation with Elizabeth Jacoway