The anniversary of several incredible incidents that greatly shaped the world we live in will take place over the coming days. Here is a quick look at a few important events in this week in history.
On Sept. 25, 1957, The Little Rock Nine started their first full day of classes at Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas. They had become the subjects of a polarizing situation over their enrollment in a previously all white school. After the Supreme Court struck down segregation in the landmark case Brown v. Board of Education, the nine students chosen by the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) were stopped by the Arkansas National Guard from entering the school on orders from Gov. Orval Faubus.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower had to intervene by sending in the 101st Airborne division and federalizing the National Guard troops present to protect the students from angry protesters. While The Little Rock Nine were eventually admitted into the school, they still faced intense adversity from current students and administrators. They would go on to become Civil Rights icons and continue the fight nationwide for equality among students.
On the same day in 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor was sworn in as the first ever woman appointed as associate justice to the Supreme Court. She would be the 102nd person approved as a judge to sit on the court. Picked by Ronald Reagan after he promised to put a woman on the court during his 1980 presidential campaign, she would be considered a moderate Republican, and usually ruled with the conservative majority on the cases she heard. Prior to her appointment she had served as a judge in Arizona and a member of their State Senate.
O’Connor would serve as justice until stepping down from the position in 2006 when she would be replaced by Samuel Alito. Widely regarded as a champion for women’s rights, she would be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2009.
On Sept. 28, 1066, William, Duke of Normandy landed with his army on the southern coast of England after crossing the channel from France. This would be the start of his own campaign to take the English throne after the death of King Edward the Confessor left England in a power vacuum. Harold Godwinson was crowned as the next king, but faced opposition from several factions, including one led by his own brother. The Norwegian king, King Harald Hardrada, invaded northern England, and was defeated by Godwinson at the battle of Stamford Bridge. William took this opportunity to invade southern England while King Harold Godwinson had his forces stationed in the North. The fate of the English crown was decided on Oct. 14th at the Battle of Hastings, where the Duke of Normandy’s forces defeated King Godwinson’s army. This would effectively ended the invasion and William would be crowned the new king. He would come to be known in history as William the Conqueror due to his military efforts.
Seamus McKeever is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.