Little Rock 9 Nine, Testament by John Deering at Arkansas State Capitol

Address for GPS Coordinates

gps coordinates 34.74625,-92.29065

Testament by John Deering, a monument honoring the Little Rock Nine

"It was a seven-year labor of love for John Deering. It was not only his artistry, but also his vision to honor the Little Rock Nine that gave birth to Testament , on the grounds of the State Capitol."

Taken from a brochure gotten in part by a grand from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities . These brochures are free to the public.

The flyers are in a 'realtor' box stand between Testament and the Liberty Bell.


Justice and Civil Rights, Testament by John Deering, 2010

I have cared about the Civil Rights movement since August 23, 1963, when I heard Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's famous "I have a Dream Speech ." I was a very young child, standing in my California living room. His words pierced my heart .

He was speaking from a couple of thousand miles away in Alabama, but after living in the Southern States of North America, I later realized Dr. King was also speaking from at least a half century away.

I could not imagine that other human beings were considered different because their skin color was not white (or shades of pale ). As a child I could see a head, arms, legs, a need for food, a desire for love and belonging, the ability to be moved emotionally to laugh and cry ...the skin or covering of the human did not make the person a different class or designation of being. I was a little kid and that was simple to see these facts add up.

A tiger has stripes, a leopard spots, a kitty cat can have any number of markings, but they are still felines and animals. A Siamese cat is no better or more valuable than a Leopard . A Red bird does not have more rights than a Bluebird . A tree that bares avocado does not become subservient to an apricot or oak .


Testament: by John Deering Memorial to the Little Rock 9, at the Arkansas State Capitol

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Testament - The Little Rock Nine (9)A closer view.Jefferson Thomas - Passed on 9/7/10 Elizabeth Eckford placed the wreath on the statue, to identify which one he was. The Flowers and Wreath a Memorial to the passing of one of The NineFree Pamphlet available on site. "Testament"Arkansas State CapitolTestament - The Little Rock Nine (9)Testament - The Little Rock Nine (9)Testament - The Little Rock Nine (9) view of the Little Rock, Arkansas CapitolTestament - The Little Rock Nine (9)In God We Trust - Liberty bell sits in front of a closed gas station, under a marble cover...while the Little Rock Nine are out in the weather...Front entrance to the Little Rock, AR Capitol, North AmericaTestament - The Little Rock Nine (9)Testament - The Little Rock Nine (9)Front of the Arkansas State CapitolArkansas Education Association
Testament - The Little Rock Nine (9)
Testament - The Little Rock Nine (9) | Source
A closer view.
A closer view. | Source
Jefferson Thomas - Passed on 9/7/10 Elizabeth Eckford placed the wreath on the statue, to identify which one he was.
Jefferson Thomas - Passed on 9/7/10 Elizabeth Eckford placed the wreath on the statue, to identify which one he was. | Source
The Flowers and Wreath a Memorial to the passing of one of The Nine
The Flowers and Wreath a Memorial to the passing of one of The Nine | Source
Free Pamphlet available on site. "Testament"
Free Pamphlet available on site. "Testament" | Source
Arkansas State Capitol
Arkansas State Capitol | Source
Testament - The Little Rock Nine (9)
Testament - The Little Rock Nine (9) | Source
Testament - The Little Rock Nine (9)
Testament - The Little Rock Nine (9) | Source
Testament - The Little Rock Nine (9) view of the Little Rock, Arkansas Capitol
Testament - The Little Rock Nine (9) view of the Little Rock, Arkansas Capitol | Source
Testament - The Little Rock Nine (9)
Testament - The Little Rock Nine (9) | Source
In God We Trust - Liberty bell sits in front of a closed gas station, under a marble cover...while the Little Rock Nine are out in the weather...
In God We Trust - Liberty bell sits in front of a closed gas station, under a marble cover...while the Little Rock Nine are out in the weather... | Source
Front entrance to the Little Rock, AR Capitol, North America
Front entrance to the Little Rock, AR Capitol, North America | Source
Testament - The Little Rock Nine (9)
Testament - The Little Rock Nine (9) | Source
Source
Testament - The Little Rock Nine (9)
Testament - The Little Rock Nine (9) | Source
Front of the Arkansas State Capitol
Front of the Arkansas State Capitol | Source
Arkansas Education Association
Arkansas Education Association | Source

1960's History Books Left Off Desegregation

Isn't this easy? I could see on my television screen, news casts where people of all colors were marching together to stop this dividing and maltreatment of People , I was forever changed.

In the 3rd Grade, each student in our class was given an assignment to do a report on a State. They were chosen for us - I was in Alhambra, California...I got Arkansas. This was in 1967. I learned about the State Bird - it is the Mockingbird, the State Tree- is the Pine, the Flower is the beautiful Dogwood and so on. I never found anything that talked about desegregation, integration, or segregation. Remember, there was no Internet, and no information Highway. We got information in our text books that did not yet tell the tale of Little Rock and Central High School.

How would I know that in 1976, my first husband would take me back home to his family's 'farm' in rural Arkansas. Where his folks live at the foot of the Ozark Mountains. The population on the town sign read 333. I was in awe of the beautiful trees and wild growth. In Southern California we had a lot of concrete and in comparison, much less greenery.

It was a surreal experience as we slowly drove through town, a mere 90 miles from Little Rock, Arkansas. I would not visit there until 1981. There is a town square where all the locals were hanging out. There were really old men in overalls whittling and gossiping in front of the Drug Store. As we continued through the town, on the way out to his home place, teenagers were walking through town, proudly displaying their shotguns and boxes of shells. It was hunting season . I was startled to say the least. I just came from Southern California and an entirely different world.

It was not until several weeks later, that I realized signs posted at both ends of the town, Reading: "Warning, to 'people of color', if yer not 'awtt of town by sundown, y'll be hanged...",was directed at human beings!

This was 1976 . I felt like I had entered a real life scary movie! I was too young to know then, that Truth is Stranger than fiction . It was not until after 2000 that people of color moved to this town - honestly, I don't know why they would want to.


Little Rock Nine History Documentary

2006 A Famous Hanging Tree Remains Near Town Square

As of 2006, the famous hanging tree was still standing close to the first "County Seat" and Town Square.

For those who live in places where the Civil Rights battle was over long ago, it is hard to imagine that people who could not read or write, and were steeped in ignorance - (Churches on every street corner, and boasting Christianity), felt superior to people with darker skin.

In Little Rock, in the 1970s there were still separate entrances, drinking fountains and public pools for blacks and whites. The Civil Rights movement is not so far removed from here. Thankfully, more education has brought an awareness and understanding of what makes a person human and equal; and the "old guard" is dying out.


A War Rages for Human and Civil Rights and Equality For All

Yesterday, September 15, 2010, I took some time out to go and visit the "Testament" , instead of my quick and daily drive-by. Being older I realize that even though I still care about the Civil Rights movement, and I cannot stand injustice or prejudice, I cannot daily bare this emotional load, and so it is easy to just let it be a thing of the past.

Last week, one of the Little Rock Nine passed away. Jefferson Thomas; whose quote, is forever inscribed by artist John Derring in bronze; "As a youth, God blessed me with the courage of men. As a man, He gave me the spirit of youth." I heard it on the news, but with all of the other world events, it was not so moving to me.

As I began to walk closely, and observe the expressions captured by the sculptor, snapping photos on this beautiful September 11, 2010. My heart began to be pierced once again...I started reading the 9 quotations inlaid at the feet of the Dais, spaced evenly in this circle. As I took the steps of a free woman, bending over to read and take pictures, tears started falling.

In 1967, I felt called, stirred, moved to do something to help my fellow man, but I did not "know" the tribulation lived every day by a person of color in the South , and in Arkansas . I can only empathize, but I can hopefully convey this feeling to each reader.

Yesterday, on Saturday the 11th of September, 2010 - I was focused on letting you see what I am seeing, and hopefully conveying some of what I feel to you. I saw the Wreath on one of the statues of the Nine, but I didn't "connect" Mr. Thomas's passing.

I came home, putting this Hub/Article together, and searched for links, videos and other historical data to make this interesting and factual. One of the videos linked is from a young person who did a YouTube video of the actual Integration of Central High School in Little Rock, AR of that fateful Fall of 1957. It is well put together, and stirred my emotions even deeper.


I Returned Home This Sculpture Lays Heavy on my Heart

There were also some news articles about Jefferson Thomas's passing and his Obituary . It was while reading these that I learned an amazing thing about The Little Rock Nine. I learned that the Plaques and Statues of the "Testament" , rendered of each of the Little Rock Nine,are not in any particular order. The reason for this is, they want to be considered as The Little Rock Nine - not Individuals. Without the strength of each other, and Ms. Daisy Bates - They could not have had the courage, and fortitude to stand against the tide of violence, ignorance, and hatred.

The wreath and other flowers put on Jefferson Thomas's likeness was the first time an individual was distinguished from the others, but Elizabeth Eckford did ask that they continue to be remembered as "The Nine ".

Today, Sunday September 12th, I returned to pay my respects, and to take a closer look this "Testament" of the Little Rock Nine. I was moved in my heart at the expressions on the faces ofThe Nine and their postures captured by John Deering.

This gave me a chance to look across the street, and take a photo of the Department of Education Building. It is within a few hundred yards of the "Testament" . An Arkansas State Agency that has been embroiled in this same Desegregation Lawsuit for over 50 years.

I photographed the empty flagpole that stands proudly next to the Department of Education. Honestly, I think I captured some ghosts.

I wanted to check out the Covered Liberty Bell Structure within a few feet of the"Testament". "In God We Trust" is inscribed on the structure sheltering the Liberty Bell..WhileNine young Students stand against prejudice and ignorance in the Wind, Sun and Rain... Heroes of U.S. American History.

Wiping the tears from my face, I just shake my head, and go home...

Testament at the State Capitol, little rock, ar

show route and directions
A markerThe Arkansas State Capitol coordinates 34.74625,-92.29065 -
1 Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201, USA
[get directions]

The statues of the Little Rock Nine are found on the Markham street entrance.

B markerArkansas Department of Education 34.74634,-92.29033 -
4 Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201, USA
[get directions]

Within Sight of the "Testament"

C markerLittle Rock Central High School Historic Site @34.73646,-92.29983 -
Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, Little Rock, AR 72202, USA
[get directions]

Mosaic Templars Cultural Center

A marker501 W. Ninth Street, Little Rock, AR -
501 W 9th St, Little Rock, AR 72202, USA
[get directions]

Built by hard work and determination. Much of the recent Little Rock civil rights work and historical figures are highlighted.

Little Rock Nine - Elizabeth Eckford Mothershed

© 2010 Lori J Latimer

More by this Author


Comments 18 comments

cheaptrick profile image

cheaptrick 6 years ago from the bridge of sighs

Very well presented L.I graduated from a high school that was in the worst part of town in 1968.We had two or three race riots a week.Peaceful kids left through the side and back doors as soon as they started[usually in the cafeteria]and met at a near by park...I can attest to the cruelty that went on from both sides as things got worse.But I also saw whites and blacks help each other occasionally when someone was hurt.I just watched a documentary on Gangs in Little Rock,seems to be one of the worst in the country.Don't think I'd want to visit.

Dean


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

Hi cheaptrick, thank you for the read and commenting. The HBO special about the Gangs of Little Rock, is about 10 or 11 years old. Much has changed since then, much. The neighborhood I live in used to be considered 'the hood', and next to the Governor's Mansion Downtown was the 9th Street Posse, and Citizens took the neighborhoods back. In South West Little Rock, there is a lot of violence - unfortunately, follow the poverty and that is what will be found.

Many of those old gang bangers, became ministers and leaders in their communities. My Hub about Chief Master Anderson, is one hero who has been working with inner city kids and families for the past several years.

http://hubpages.com/politics/Determination-and-Des...

Thank you again for your thoughtful comments. In CA we had race problems, but now I know there was a different sort of violence afoot.

Peace


MyMastiffPuppies profile image

MyMastiffPuppies 6 years ago

wow, what a story, awesome job on such an important subject. It is amazing just how recently things were still so backwards. Thanks for sharing your personal story!


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

Thank you MyMastiffPuppies, This was a tough subject to do, and I could have sugar coated it, but I think in the telling of truth, it hurts at first, but then Healing can begin. Thanks for stopping by for a read.


Sweetsusieg profile image

Sweetsusieg 6 years ago from Michigan

I think by reading your article, and having watched history on television I am grateful that I was raised in such a way that 'people of color'... were just people.

As an example; When my youngest daughter wanted to spend the night with her very best friend Amani, I said 'of course'. Amani's mother had to come in to make sure, then question me as to why I allowed it. I was puzzled from her question "Why? Because they are best friends."

She then asked me about her being black, I was truly puzzled and I asked her "What's color got to do with friendship?" She told me I was the weirdest white person she'd ever met, but she said it with a smile.

She explained to me the difference and some of the things she has had to suffer in her life. I think I prefer to be the 'crazy' white woman who likes people for being people.


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

Write On ms sweetsusieg! Thanks for the read and comment! Thank you.


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

I was very moved by this Hub. Wish yo had posted some of the photos you took here! I would love to see those statues.

Thanks so much for sharing this personal story so meaningfully.

Love and peace

Tony


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

Dear tonymac4, I am so glad you came by and gave this a read, your comments are very nice. Thank you.

There is a slide show of 31 photos. If this is not visible to you, please let me know, so I can contact HubPages. It is showing on mine... :0)


tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

Can see the pix now, thanks!


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

Thank you tonymac04! Thanks for returning! :0)


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

Cool you really are on the move traveling about and telling us so many wonderful things about Little Rock. Have I told you that's where my Dad was raised. Great reviews of your travels. I loved seeing the pics of your experiences. Peace :)


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

Dear Ms. Katiem2. I am interested in your Dad being here in Arkansas. When did he leave, what did he do here? Do you have a Hub about it?, I would be interested to hear the story of your Dad's time here.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

Hi LillyGrillzit,

I remember watching documentary footage of the Little Rock Nine during the 30th anniversary of the event and it left me shaking and crying. How terrible and also how brave, to have to face such anger just to get inside a public school building for a quality education.

I see my hub about civil rights is listed in the related side bar, as yours is in my hub's side bar, which makes me feel good because this issue is so important and, unfortunately, is still in the news (as a glance at the current headlines from above attests to).

Thanks for your hearfelt article and for sharing the wonderful pictures of the memorial to the Little Rock 9. Your article is a loving, respectful tribute to their strength of character.


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 5 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

Happyboomernurse, thank you for the very kind and heartfelt comments. This topic is a hard one to discuss, informing with love is the goal, and it is a bonus day when it happens. Thank you, and come back anytime.


Ankush 23 months ago

You and I will meet again,When we're least expecting it,One day in some far off place,I will regcnoize your face,I won't say goodbye my friend,For you and I will meet again.farewell my dear


MizBejabbers profile image

MizBejabbers 21 months ago

I moved to Little Rock in 1975, and I don't remember seeing any segregation signs anywhere. I worked as a news reporter for several radio stations and went all over the county. Where did you see these?

In 1980 I bought a house in an integrated Central Little Rock neighborhood near the university, and, being white, I was subsequently run out of the neighborhood by black gangs when the "Sin City" of Highland Park was razed and these people moved into the nearby houses. We had war going on between the Bloods and the Crips, and the police were too chicken to deal with them. The name of the gang that finally took over was the 21st Street Posse, and they ruled from downtown in the Quapaw Quarter all the way to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. The citizens finally raised a big fuss and the police had to take some action, but I think the action came when an African-American quorum court member named Willie Hinton and his followers put pressure on the city to act against this gang.


sybol profile image

sybol 9 months ago

I really enjoyed reading your article. I learned or should I say felt more from your article. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. This keeps the "realness" of history alive.


LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 9 months ago from The River Valley, Arkansas Author

Thank you! I appreciate your comments.

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