Executive Order 10730: Little Rock Desegregation

(1957)

On September 24, 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued Executive Order 10730, dispatching federal troops to Little Rock, Arkansas, where unruly crowds had prevented the desegregation of all-white Central High School. Not since the period of Reconstruction after the Civil War had federal troops gone to the South to maintain law and order. Many southern leaders angrily protested and said that the federal government was intervening in a matter for which state and local officials had exclusive responsibility.

Even though Executive Order 10730 had the effect of advancing integration Eisenhower was not a strong supporter of civil rights. Instead, he acted because the mob at Central High in Little Rock was interfering with a federal court order to carry out a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court about school desegregation. As president, Eisenhower had taken an oath “to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.” He had reservations about the Brown v. Board of Education...

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Executive Order 10730 (National Archives and Records Administration)

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