Who tried to interfere with Little Rock's desegregation plan?what did this person do to block the plan?

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brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The biggest obstacle to Little Rock School District's decision to integrate in 1957 was the Governor of Arkansas, Orval Faubus.  While he wasn't the worst segregationist in the South before this, he was facing a tough re-election challenge from someone who was.  So to save his political life, he decided to stake his future in the Governor's chair on resisting integration in the capital city.

At first he called out the Arkansas National Guard with orders to admit only the white students to school.  Black students, their parents and civil rights leaders marched towards the school only to be turned away.  President Eisenhower, himself a private supporter of segregation, went to Arkansas and convinced Faubus to admit the Little Rock Nine to school.  In fact, Faubus just took away the National Guard troops, leaving the students at the mercy of angry, racist mobs.  They were nearly lynched in the schoolhouse yard but the Assistant Chief of Police put them in two cars and got them out of there.

Eisenhower was so angry he sent in the 101st Airborne Division to secure the city and escort the nine students to class each day.  The next fall, Faubus ordered all of Little Rock's schools closed to prevent further integration.  He easily won re-election.