Interview with Ernest Green
QUESTION 27
INTERVIEWER:

OK, UH, CUT, JUST FOR A SECOND. UM, I GUESS THE QUESTION IS WHAT, WHAT LITTLE ROCK MEANT. UH, I'VE ASKED IT BEFORE, BUT UH…

Ernest Green:

Well what it what it meant, meant to me, I grew up there, was born there, uh, third generation living there. Little Rock Central represented symbolically all that white segregation meant in that town, and, and, and my reinforcement, or awareness of Little Rock being a segregated town goes back first time I was—can remember shopping with my mother, and this white kid and I were playing, and, and all of a sudden like a bit sky hook his mother snatches him, and he just disappears. And I couldn't figure out why. Uh, and uh, only after some years, it was just the fact that I was black, and he was white and we couldn't play together in the store. And Little Rock Central High School represented all of that, all of the worst of the South, and its, and its uh, lily white status. And uh, going there and successfully attending it and graduating from Little Rock Central meant that we had eliminated one more lily white institution uh, in Little Rock. Uh, I thought that uh, symbolically it would mean something to other black people in the city. I didn't have any awareness what it meant to people outside of Little Rock but that uh, if we could do that, the nine of us, uh, teenagers then there were a series of other things that older people, leadership could take on to complete the job. And that I saw this as a beginning of uh, of uh, starting change in, in Little Rock.