Interview with Craig Rains
QUESTION 20
INTERVIEWER:

CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT GRADUATION. YOU SAID YOU WANTED TO HAVE A VERY NORMAL, PRODUCTIVE SENIOR YEAR. WAS IT — WAS IT NORMAL EVEN THOUGH ERNEST GREEN WAS THERE, AND LITTLE ROCK, RATHER CENTRAL HIGH WAS GRADUATING ITS FIRST BLACK STUDENT? WHAT WAS THAT LIKE?

Craig Rains:

Well, graduation was prettty electric. We didn't know what to expect. Graduation in those days was held outdoors in the football stadium. Security was very tight. People had to have passes to get in. It was a time that — we were apprehensive, not knowing what could happen, if anything could happen. We still didn't know whether some outsiders might roll in from some other states, and firebomb the place. So we — we were a little nervous about it. Course we were excited about graduation coming, and the all-night party, and things, that go along with it. As was Ernest, and he stood around joked with the students, we were all joking together there waiting to process in. And I do remember that as the students names were called, and they'd get up and go across the platform and receive their diploma, that I really held my breath when Ernest's name was called.** And he walked up, and I just prayed that nothing would happen. And he got up, and walked over and got his diploma and walked down, and I breathed a sigh of relief. When the last person in line got their diploma, I knew it was all over but the shouting. And it was a tremendous feeling. It was a great feeling of relief, too.