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Jefferson Thomas, one of the “Little Rock Nine” who provoked a major civil rights battle when they integrated Arkansas’ largest public high school in 1957 over the opposition of Gov. Orval E. Faubus, died Sept. 5 at a care facility in Columbus, Ohio.

Mr. Thomas, who was 67, had pancreatic cancer. His death was confirmed by Carlotta Walls LaNier, who also enrolled at Central High School in 1957 and is president of the Little Rock Nine Foundation.

Many school districts in the South defied the 1954 Supreme Court ruling that declared racial segregation unconstitutional, forcing lawsuits and violent methods of enforcement. One of the first and most shocking showdowns occurred in Little Rock, when Faubus ordered the state’s National Guard to keep black students out of Central High in September 1957.

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article courtesy of TheWashingtonPost.com

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