Sixty years ago, nine teen braved violent protests to attend school after the supreme court outlawed segregation – but racial separation is not over in the US

Minnijean Brown Trickey didn’t intend to make a political statement when she set off with two friends for her first day in high school. She was, after all, only 15. “I mean, part of growing up in a segregated society is that it’s a little sort of enclave and you know everybody,” says Trickey, who is African American. “So, I was thinking: ‘Wow! I can meet some other kids.’”

Central high school in Little Rock, Arkansas, seemed to have a lot going for it. “The black school was kind of far away and there was no bus,” she says. “We went to get new shoes and we were really trying to decide what to wear. So we were very teenage-esque about it, just totally naive.”

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