Desegregation Commemorative Signed by Bush
Washington, D.C. – A bill introduced by U.S. Representative Vic Snyder was signed into law by President Bush on December 22, 2005. The legislation instructs the Secretary of the Treasury to mint coins in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the desegregation of the Little Rock Central High School.
“The 1957 crisis in Little Rock, brought about by the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School, was an important part of the march toward freedom and opportunity in America,” Congressman Vic Snyder said. “A 2007 commemorative silver dollar issued by the U.S. Mint will honor the 50th anniversary of these very significant historical events and the brave Arkansans who made them possible, and at the same time, raise some funds to help the Little Rock Central High School Historic Site tell this story.”
Congress may authorize two commemorative coins for each year. One of the two 2007 coin positions has already been filled for the 400th anniversary of Jamestown. The Central High Desegregation 50th Anniversary commemorative coin will fill the other.
In 1957, Little Rock Central High School was the site of the first major national test for the implementation of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision and became the international symbol of the end of racially segregated public schools. The desegregation of Central High by nine African American students was influential to the Civil Rights Movement, and recognized by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as such a significant event that in May 1958 he attended the graduation of the first African American from Little Rock Central High. Moreover, it changed American history by providing an example on which to build greater equality, and ultimately a better America.
Proceeds from a $10 surcharge on each commemorative coin would benefit educational programs and capital improvements at the Little Rock Central High National Historic Site. If all of the authorized 500,000 coins are sold, the proceeds would total $5 million, but the anticipated number of coins that will be sold is indeterminable.