Interview with Craig Rains


Craig Rains:

Central High was a very special place, even back in 1957, because of the long history — the colorful history of the school, the tradition that had come down through the years. Little Rock was a pretty good-sized town in that time, just to have one white high school. And so all of the students, all over the whole town, went to this one school, and for a town of a hundred thousand population, whatever it was then, it drew everybody together. And most of the people who were students, their parents had also gone to high school there. So this tradition was passed down, the school was very steeped in tradition. It was wonderful. It carried over onto the football field; it carried over in the classrooms. Students really felt closeness. The school had a terrific reputation throughout the United States. It had an unusually high number of National Merit Scholars that would come out, which is still true today. There's a tremendous number of National Merit Scholars that come out of Central High School and go to the Ivy League schools every year that go all over the United States. Its reputation for scholarship was very strong, and its reputation in athletics was strong as well. It had a football team that was —I think we won 33 straight games during the period that I was there. They even created what they called a Junior Rose Bowl, and tried to get Little Rock Central to play in that, along with another school from California, which were ranked as the top two high school football teams in the country. Unfortunately, our school board wouldn't let us go.