A University of Arkansas assistant professor will deliver a lecture in Little Rock next week examining former Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus' use of rhetoric during the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School in 1957, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock has announced.
Lisa Corrigan's lecture, “Orval Faubus and the Language of Segregation: Sexualized Violence and Racial Anxiety during the Little Rock Crisis,” will use the Orval Faubus Collection at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville to look at Faubus' rhetorical strategies in public speeches and in private correspondence during the height of the desegregation crisis.
Little Rock Central High School became internationally known Sept. 2, 1957, when Faubus sent Arkansas National Guardsmen there. Faubus said he called out the National Guard “to maintain ... the peace and good order of the community” and directed the Guard to prevent nine black students from entering the all-white school, notwithstanding a court-approved desegregation plan.
On Sept. 20, Faubus removed the guardsmen on the order of a federal judge. When the black students went to Central three days later on Sept. 23, a violent crowd gathered. The students were removed for their protection.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower then federalized the National Guard and sent 101st Airborne Division troops to the school the next day to enforce the school’s integration. The black students attended school the rest of the year under federal protection.
Corrigan, an assistant professor of communication at UA, chair of its Gender Studies program and an affiliate faculty member in the African and African American Studies and the Latin American Studies programs, is set to speak at 6 p.m. Tuesday in Dickinson Hall Auditorium on the UALR campus. The lecture will be free and public, as will a reception preceding it at 5:30 p.m.
The lecture will be presented by the UALR English Department, the Cooper Honors Program in English and the UALR Gender Studies Program.