NEWPORT NEWS—The Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) division of HII hosted a keel authentication ceremony on Saturday, November 19 for the Virginia-class submarine Arkansas (SSN 600). Present at the event were the ship’s sponsors, six women from the group known at the Little Rock Nine, the first African American students to attend all white Central High School in Little Rock, AR during desegregation. Newport News Shipbuilding honored all nine members of the group during the ceremony.
The Little Rock Nine made history in 1957 with their response to the Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, which declared racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional. Faced with shouting mobs, threats of violence, and hostile state leaders who tried to block their entrance into the school, the teenagers were escorted in by federal troops at the direction of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
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