Today, Jefferson Thomas of the Little Rock Nine has passed away, reports CNN.com. Along with eight other African American teenagers, Mr. Thomas integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957. (That is him in the picture; he is young man standing all the way to the right in the second row.) He was in tenth grade, and neither he nor the other students were allowed to participate in extracurricular activities at their new school.
The integration of Central High was the first nationally publicized test of Brown v Board of Education, which was decided in 1954 (and argued by Thurgood Marshall, later the first Black U.S. Supreme Court judge) and legally desegregated U.S. public schools. Below is a video that gives a short history of the Little Rock Nine; this documentary was done by a brilliant ninth grader, Shea Higgins.
Rest in peace, Mr. Thomas. And thank you so much, Brother.