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Little Rock on Trial

Cooper v. Aaron and School Desegregation

Foreword Review

Supreme Court Schooling: The Little Rock, Arkansas, school desegregation crisis pitted nine African-American youths against Orval Faubus, the stubborn and deceitful Arkansas governor, and the thousands of white Little Rock citizens whose passions he inflamed. One year after the Little Rock racial tensions exploded, the Supreme Court in Cooper v. Aaron upheld the 1954 Brown decision and required Faubus to desegregate Central High School “with all deliberate speed.”

In Little Rock on Trial: Cooper v. Aaron and School Desegregation (University Press of Kansas, 276 pages, hardcover, $35.00, 978-0-7006-1535-3), Tony A. Freyer, professor of law at the University of Alabama and the author of The Little Rock Crises, provides an investigation of how Cooper v. Aaron set the precedent for the 1964 Civil Rights Bill and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The Little Rock Chapter of the NAACP and Thurgood Marshall led the successful challenge to Faubus. The victory was short lived, however, as the governor shut down the school system and the Supreme Court failed to define what “all deliberate speed” meant. Cooper v. Aaron’s importance is demonstrated more by its legacy than by its immediate impact.

The worthy addition to the “Landmark Law Cases and American Society” series reveals the legal intricacies of Cooper v. Aaron in a clear, exciting, accessible style.