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A Life Is More Than a Moment: The Desegregation of Little Rock's Central High

Counts, Will; Dumas, Ernest; McCord, Robert S.; Campbell, Will

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ISBN 10: 0253336376 / ISBN 13: 9780253336378
Published by Indiana Univ Pr, Bloomington, Indiana, U.S.A., 1999
Condition: Very Good- Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: A Life Is More Than a Moment: The ...

Publisher: Indiana Univ Pr, Bloomington, Indiana, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Cloth

Book Condition:Very Good-

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good

About this title


These are the stunning photographs that shocked the conscience of the nation in 1957. President Dwight Eisenhower was so moved at the beating of veteran Alex Wilson that he ordered 1,200 paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne to Little Rock, and he federalized the Arkansas National Guard to quell the "disgraceful occurrences." But how did it happen? Little Rock seemed an unlikely place for such violent hatred; it did not even see itself as part of the deep south and had voluntarily decided to integrate the schools. Essays by Bob McCord, Ernie Dumas, and Will Campbell chart the path leading to the crisis, as well as the impact of the crisis on the civil rights movement.Young Will Counts had only been with The Arkansas Democrat for about 3 months on that fateful Labor Day in 1957. Recently graduated from the Ernie Pyle School of Journalism at Indiana University he had been pleased to get a job with his own hometown newspaper, though he didn't expect to see much action. Little Rock, after all, was not a very large city, and didn't offer much opportunity to capture "the essential image," that elusive photographic ideal that distills an entire story into one magical image. And he knew that his preference for a small 35mm camera rather than the larger "news" cameras then in vogue meant his pictures would have to compete with those larger negatives preferred by editors everywhere.All in all, he was not expecting much from his first job. Governor Orval Faubus' surprise decision to surround Central High with Arkansas National Guard troops and prevent 9 black students from entering changed everything. The prospect of covering a major civil rights story in his own hometown was exhilarating. He headed for the school armed with a "blend-in" flannel shirt and his beloved 35mm camera. Three "Life Magazine" staffers: Francis Miller, Grey Villette, and Paul Welch found that their large cameras (and their coats and ties!) quickly identified them as outsiders. They were attacked by the mob (and adding insult to injury) arrested by the police. Will was able to move freely through the crowds and was accepted everywhere as a native son. Many feel that his photographs captured the essence of those dark days and he was unanimously recommended for the Pulitzer Prize by the photography committee that year." A Life is More Than a Moment" carries us back to those painful and turbulent times, but it does not leave us there. For more than 30 years these photos served as the foundation for Will's photo journalism courses at Indiana University. Goaded by the claims of a student that Central High was not better off for his efforts in 1957 Will decided to return to Little Rock and see for himself what impact, if any, the photos had. He returned to Central High to take a new series of photos and managed to find many the most important people in his original photographs. Much has happened to them in 40 years and Will, the consummate storyteller, gives voice to their lives. This is a book that does show some of the most ugly hatred in life, but in the end, it is also a book of hope and reconciliation.

About the Author:

Will Counts decided to make photojournalism his career while studying in Miss Edna Middlebrook's journalism class at Little Rock High School (now Little Rock Central High) . During the Central High integration crisis between 1957 and 1960 he worked as a photographer for The Arkansas Democrat where his photographs were runner-up for the 1957 Pulitzer prize in photography. In 1960 he became a photo editor for the Associated Press in Chicago and later an AP photographer in Indianapolis. He is Professor Emeritus of the Indiana University School of Journalism where he directed the School's photojournalism sequence from 1963 to 1995. In 1997, while teaching as a Visiting Professor at his undergraduate alma mater, The University of Central Arkansas, Counts returned to Central High to document the school 40 years after the integration crisis. He and his wife, Vivian, also a native Arkansawyer, live in Bloomington, Indiana.

Robert S. McCord, a native of Arkansas, has spent 50 years working on Arkansas newspapers. At the time of the crisis at Central High School, he was the Sunday Magazine editor of the Arkansas Democrat and Will Count's boss. Later he became editor and publisher of the North Little Rock Times, returned to the Arkansas Democrat as executive editor and retired in 1991 as columnist and senior editor of the Arkansas Gazette. McCord is a graduate of the University of Arkansas and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

Ernest Dumas is a native Arkansawyer who has spent his entire life in the state except for short sojourns at the University of Missouri and in the U.S. Army. He was reared in the piney woods of South Arkansas, then a citadel of segregation and a home to the white citizens councils. He spent thirty-one years at the Arkansas Gazette, one of the nation's great newspapers until its demise in 1991, half that time as a State Capitol and political reporter and later as associate editor and editorial writer. He continues to write a column for the Arkansas Times and several other Arkansas newspapers and teaches journalism at the University of Central Arkansas at Conway. In 1992 he edited a book, The Clintons of Arkansas.

Will Davis Cambell, author of Brother to a Dragonfly, was born in southern Mississippi in 1924, ordained a Baptist preacher at 17, briefly attended Louisiana College, and served as a medic in the South Pacific during World War II. After the war he married Brenda Fisher, attended Tulane University, and graduated from Wake Forest University and Yale Divinity School. First as a University Chaplain at Ole Miss, then as race relations troubleshooter for the National Council of Churches, and finally as director of an activist organization called the Committee of Southern Churchmen, Will Campbell was among the most conspicuous of white Southerners for social justice in the civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s. Besides the many books he has written, he has been the subject of two biographies and numerous magazine profiles in such magazines as Rolling Stones, LIFE, The Progressive, Esquire. Will and Brenda Campbell live on a farm near Mt. Juliet, Tennessee.

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