December 16, 2011

Tale Of Two Women From An Iconic Civil Rights Photo

In 1957, Little Rock, Arkansas became the first battleground in the fight to integrate public schools.  On a September morning, nine African American students tried to enroll for class at a local high school and were confronted by the National Guard as well as an angry, vocal mob.  A local photojournalist named Will Counts snapped the above picture that morning as one of the students arrived at the school, forever immortalizing the two women caught in its frame; Hazel Bryant (left) and Elizabeth Eckford. Instantly, this image became one of the most iconic photos of the Civil Rights era.

Last night, there was a story on the PBS Newshour about these two women and the surprising lives they've lead, both separately and together, since that fateful day in 1957.  The story was tagged to a new book that's out from writer David Margolick which tells their unusual story over the past 50-odd years entitled ELIZABETH AND HAZEL.  Also, you can read a lengthy excerpt from the book that was published in VANITY FAIR earlier this fall.  It's a fascinating story of two lives randomly caught in a moment of history and how that experience has affected them ever since.

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