Charleston in Franklin County, Arkansas — The American South (West South Central)
Charleston High School Integration
On July 27, 1954, the Charleston School Board unanimously voted to integrate all grade levels of its public school system, becoming the first in the South to do so. The Board's decision was in response to the May 17, 1954 United States Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, which determined that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. On August 23, 1954, eleven Black students, including three ninth graders and eight elementary school children, attended class alongside 480 white students. The integration was peaceful, so attracted little notice outside of the area.
Barbara Williams, one of the eleven black students to enroll in 1954, lived in this house along with her parents—R.B. and Victoria—and her nine siblings: Ruby, Etholia, Sylvia, Fanny, Mildred, Mary, Robert, Richey and Vircy. In 1961, Barbara Williams was the first African American woman to graduate from the high school. In 1998, Charleston High School was designated as a National Commemorative Site, the first in the nation, through legislation authored by U.S. Senator (and Charleston native) Dale Bumpers.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Civil Rights • Education. A significant historical year for this entry is 1954.
Location. 35° 17.335′ N, 93° 59.877′ W. Marker is in Charleston, Arkansas, in Franklin County. Marker is at the intersection of West Eucal Road (County Highway 9) and Unnamed road/driveway south of Eucal Road, on the right when traveling east on West Eucal Road. The marker is located one-half mile east of where Eucal Road turns north. It is south of the road, in the northwest corner of a field, bounded by a fence and accessible through a gate. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Charleston AR 72933, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 5 other markers are within 17 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Logan County Vietnam Memorial (approx. 11.1 miles away); Skirmishes at Roseville (approx. 16.7 miles away); World War I - Lest We Forget - World War II (approx. 16.7 miles away); Franklin County Court House (approx. 16.7 miles away); In Memory of our Friends Lost in Korea, Vietnam & Iraq (approx. 16.7 miles away).
Credits. This page was last revised on May 24, 2022. It was originally submitted on May 23, 2022, by Ashley Sides of Little Rock, Arkansas. This page has been viewed 534 times since then and 61 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on May 23, 2022, by Ashley Sides of Little Rock, Arkansas. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.