Faubus Wires Eisenhower He Will Not Cooperate With U.S. Agents in Little Rock
Mayor Scores Use or Militia Without His Request–400 Near School Boo Youths
By BENJAMIN FINE
Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES
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Little Rock, Ark., Sept. 4–The state militia barred nine Negro students from the white high school here today.
Fully armed, the troops kept the Negroes from the school grounds while an angry crowd of 400 white men and women jeered, booed and shouted, “go home, niggers.” Several hundred militiamen, with guns slung over their shoulders, carrying gas masks and billy clubs, surrounded the school.
The nine Negro students said that they would again attempt to enter the all-white Central High School tomorrow morning.
The troops acted under direct orders of Gov. Orval E. Faubus. In a news conference in his office, Governor Faubus said he would not permit Negroes to enter white schools in this city, despite the order from the Federal District Court. He insisted that he was not flouting the court’s orders, but acting to preserve peace and to prevent bloodshed.
Late tonight Governor Faubus sent a telegram to President Eisenhower asking him to stop the “unwarranted interference of Federal agents in this area.”
The Governor declared that he would not cooperate with the Federal agents now investigating his use of troops to block integration here.
The Governor also said in his telegram that he had reason to believe that the telephone lines to his executive mansion “have been tapped.” He suspected that the Federal agents were tapping his wires.
“The situation in Little Rock and Arkansas grows more explosive by the hour,” the Governor wired.
Meanwhile, Mayor Woodrow W. Mann of Little Rock, the capital of Arkansas, denounced Governor Faubus for having sent the militia into the city.
Sees Tension Created
He said he deeply resented “the wholly unwarranted interference with the internal affairs of this city by the Governor.”
The Mayor declared that the Governor had called out the National Guard to “put down trouble where none existed.”
“He did so,” the Mayor said, “without request from those of us who are directly responsible for the preservation of peace and order. The only effect of his action is to create tensions where none existed.
“If any racial trouble does develop the blame rests squarely on the doorstep of the Governor’s mansion,” he added.
The open defiance of a Federal Court order by the Governor is the first time that the issue of Federal versus state authority has been reached on the integration problem.
This action set the stage for the first major test of the United States Supreme Court’s decision of May, 1954, that racial segregation in schools is unconstitutional.
Federal Judge Ronald N. Davies acted as soon as he learned that his order to integrate the school had been flouted. He asked the Assistant United States Attorney, Osro Cobb, to study the case. He also met with R. Beal Kidd, United States marshal, to discuss the situation.
The judge asked Mr. Cobb to make an immediate study.
“You are requested to begin at once a full, thorough and complete investigation,” Judge Davies said, “to determine the responsibility for interference with the integration order, or responsibility for failure to comply with the order of the court, and to report your findings to me with the least practicable delay.”
Schools opened here yesterday. The school board, when informed that troops would surround the school, had asked the Negro students not to enter. They did not attempt to enter. However, when Judge Davies last night ordered the board to integrate the school the students were told they could come this morning.
The day began quietly. At 6 A.M. only a handful of men and women had gathered in front of the school. About 100 troops were on duty. Many sat at the edge of the sidewalk; some sprawled on the hard cement, their rifles lying beside them.
“It looks kinda quiet,” a guardsman said.
“I sure hope it stays that way,” another said.
“Just think,” one of them said, “we’re making history.”
“Not me,” his khaki-clad companion retorted. “I’d rather go fishing than make history in this hot sun.”
Slowly the crowd gathered. By 8 o’clock about 100 men and women were standing quietly across the street from the school. They seemed to be in a jovial mood.
“We sure kept the niggers out,” one said. “They won’t dare show their faces here.”
Slowly the crowd grew until 400 were standing in front of the school. The sun now shone brightly. It would be another hot day.
‘Here They Come’
Suddenly a cry came from one end of the street. “A nigger, they’re coming, here they come.”
A frightened 15-year-old Negro girl, Elizabeth Eckford, had sought admission to the school. The troops barred her way and now she had to go through the blocked-off street to the other exit, some 100 yards.
As the girl walked slowly toward the exit, the crowd surrounded her, jeered and yelled. From time to time several troops used their clubs to push the crowd back to prevent anyone from molesting her.
“Don’t let her in, go back where you came from,” the crowd yelled.
A 15-year-old high school student tried to reach the frightened girl. The troops prevented the Negro girl from being harmed.
A 15-year-old Negro boy, Terrence Roberts, advanced to the school ground. This time the guards formed a human fence and did not let him pass.
“Keep away from our school, you burr head,” someone shouted.
The boy had a shiney new yellow pencil over his left ear and he wore an open sports shirt.
He told the guards:
“I was told if there is any resistance and if I’m not permitted to go in not to try to force my way.”
“Are you scared?” a reporter asked.
“Yes, I am,” he answered. Then he said:
“I think the students would like me okay once I got in and they got to know me.”
He said he had attended the all-Negro Horace Mann high school, where he has an A average.
“I guess they’re not going to let me through,” he said, as the militiamen continued to block his path.
The Negro girl, who had come earlier, sat on a bus bench. She seemed in a state of shock. A white woman, Mrs. Grace Lorch, walked over to comfort her.
“What are you doing, you nigger lover?” Mrs. Lorch was asked. “You stay away from that girl.”
“She’s scared,” Mrs. Lorch said. “She’s just a little girl.” She appealed to the men and women around her.
“Why don’t you calm down?” she asked. “I’m not here to fight with you. Six months from now you’ll be ashamed at what you’re doing.”
“Go home, you’re just one of them,” Mrs. Lorch was told.
She escorted the Negro student to the other side of the street, but the crowd followed.
“Won’t somebody please call a taxi?” she pleaded. She was met with hoot calls and jeers.
Finally, after being jostled by the crowd, she worked her way to the street corner, and the two boarded a bus.
Seven other Negro students tried to get into the school. They came together, accompanied by four white ministers. Dunbar Ogden, president of the greater Little Rock Ministerial Association acted as spokesman for the group.
“Sorry, we cannot admit Negro students,” the officers of the militia told them.
The crowd began to disperse slowly. Many of the students who had waited outside the school buildings to see whether the Negroes would enter, started to go into school. They had said if the Negroes went in they would go out.
At his interview Governor Faubus said that the troops, under the direction of Maj. Gen. Sherman T.. Clinger, had been instructed to keep Negroes out of the white school. He did this, the Governor said, to preserve order and prevent violence. He did not consider himself in contempt of court.
The guards will remain on duty until all danger of violence has ended, he said. Just how long that would be could not be determined, he added.
Governor Faubus belittled the prospect of a state-Federal conflict over authority.
“I’m not defying the Federal court order,” he insisted. “I’m merely carrying out my obligation to preserve the peace.”
Integration can take place in Little Rock, he said, when and if a majority of the people want mixed classes. He said he was seeking “the most peace for the most people.”
Governor Faubus said that his order to keep Negroes out was based on the situation as it now existed.
Two truck loads of National Guardsmen surrounded the Governor’s Mansion late this afternoon. The immediate reason for this move was not apparent. The Governor was not available for comment.
At the end of his news conference Governor Faubus warned the newsmen and photographers not to try to incite the crowd to make news. He said that several instances had been reported to him of newsreel men going out of their way to create news. The newsmen denied this.
Seven Negro students who had been denied admission went to Mr. Cobb’s office to complain of their treatment. They were referred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation under direction of Joseph J. Casper, special agent.
During the day sixteen ministers of Little Rock issued a statement strongly protesting the action of Governor Faubus in calling out the troops. The ministers appealed to the citizens to maintain peace.