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Predictably, the Little Rock Nine were exposed to relentless discrimination, harassment, and even threats of physical harm after beginning school at Little Rock Central. They were pushed and spat upon in hallways, assaulted in bathrooms, and relentlessly taunted. While there was initially no organized conspiracy for getting them expelled from school, they were unfairly punished for responding to instigation from white students. Minijean Brown, one of the nine, dumped a bowl of chili on a group of white students just before Christmas, an event that led to her eventual year-long suspension. The plan to get rid of the black students, however, took place not at the school level, but when governor Orval Faubus ordered the closure of the public schools to both white and black students, a move which he had approved by a 1958 referendum. The schools remained closed until 1959, when a new school board ordered them reopened.
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