Cover image for A life is more than a moment : the desegration of Little Rock's Central High
A life is more than a moment : the desegration of Little Rock's Central High
Counts, I. Wilmer (Ira Wilmer), 1931-
Publication Information:
Bloomington, IN : Indiana University Press, [1999]

Physical Description:
xviii, 76 pages : illustrations ; 23 x 26 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
LC214.23.L56 C68 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



A Life Is More Than a Moment carries us back to those painful and turbulent times, but it does not leave us there. For more than thirty years, Will used these images as proof of the power of a well-taken photograph to do good. Stung by the claims of a student that Central High was not better off for his efforts in 1957, Will decided to return to Little Rock. He went back to Central High and took a new series of photos. He even managed to find many of the most important people in his original photographs. Much has happened to them in forty years, and Will, the consummate storyteller, gives voice to their lives.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

As a new photographer with the Arkansas Democrat, Counts was sent to cover the desegregation of his alma mater, Central High School in Little Rock, in 1957. His ties to the town and to the school helped him blend in and take stunning photos of the social upheaval that resulted when the nine enrolling black students faced virulent resistance by most white citizens, including the governor, Orval Faubus. The text includes interviews with some of the black students integrating the school, including Elizabeth Eckford, a black girl tormented by the mob. Among the essays is one by Hazel Bryan, who was captured by Counts' camera jeering Eckford in a photo that portrayed Bryan in that moment as the "poster child of the hate generation." Counts also photographed the fortieth anniversary commemoration of the race crisis in Little Rock. This book is a powerful and moving reminder of a painful time in U.S. history and the lingering legacy of racism. --Vanessa Bush

Library Journal Review

The world has often heard about the desegregation crisis at Little Rock Central High School in 1957-58, and many have wondered how such a conflict could have exploded in that small Southern city, which heretofore had been noted for moderation. The author reveals that only five days after the Supreme Court's 1954 Brown decision, the Little Rock School Board announced it would end the segregated school system. Within a year, the board adopted a plan to integrate in stages. Photographer and author Counts, who had just started working as a photographer for the Arkansas Democrat, one of the town's two dailies, presents here his recollectionsÄand photographsÄof the event that put Little Rock on the map in the worst light. In this spare and accurate account, he makes a case for why the tragedy might never have occurred were it not for a governor, Orval Faubus, determined to resuscitate a flagging career by playing the race card to the hilt. Counts relates Faubus's refusal to allow black students to enter Central High until President Eisenhower sent in troops to enforce integration; the next year, Faubus closed all the high schools for a year until a court order forced them to reopen. This probing recollection is almost a primer of how one man disrupted a community for years to come. [The reviewer was a senior at Little Rock Central High during the desegregation crisis.ÄEd.]ÄEdward Cone, New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Will CampbellErnest DumasRobert S. McCord
Prefacep. ix
Introductionp. xiii
A Perspective of Central Highp. 1
An Unexpected Crisisp. 9
Covering the Crisisp. 29
Back to Central Highp. 57
The Congressional Gold Medalp. 75