Little Rock Nine honored with global service award

In 1957, the Little Rock Nine walked through the doors of Central High School and into history. Now, the Little Rock Rotary Club is honoring their legacy

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — In 1957, the Little Rock Nine walked through the doors of Central High School and into history.

65 years later, that moment continues to affect how people live.

On Tuesday, the Little Rock Rotary Club honored the brave students and their legacy with the inaugural La Petite Roche Global Service Award.

“We all stand here today in a more united situation because these ordinary young teenagers decided to take the courageous steps up Little Rock Central,” Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott said. 

Scott said it’s important to acknowledge the past.

“It’s vitally important to not only recognize history, but also understand it and make certain it is not rewritten,” Scott said.

Elizabeth Eckford, one of the nine former students, shared what the award means to her.

“Local people are not only acknowledging our shared paths, but saying that what we did has a ripple effect,” Eckford said.

Eckford, along with others in-person and on Zoom, gave brief speeches before accepting the award, outlining how things have changed in America since that moment in 1957.

They also addressed how there’s still work that needs to be done.

“America’s progress toward inequality is not linear,” Eckford said. “We’ve gone back and forth. That’s why, even in these times, I have hope for the future.”

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