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This article also partially published in Northwest Arkansas Living Magazine Apartments Edition

Page:--1--of:-6

Volume 2, Number 1

Published: March 2007


Elizabeth Eckford Desegregates at Tyson;

The Legacy of One of the Little Rock Nine


Will G. Louden™

public@willlouden.com

willglouden.com™

Founder/Publisher: willglouden.com™


Tyson Foods, Inc.

              A circular drive adorns the entryway into the corporate world of Tyson Foods (NYSE: TSN). Tyson is one of Arkansas' most prized, respected and celebrated corporate citizens. Screaming lynch mobs, racial slurs and government ordered desegregation adorn the powerful legacy of the Arkansas Public School System; in 1957, Little Rock Central High School (Central as it's called) was one of the state's largest (2,100 students then), most controversial, by anyone's standards, and ominous inner city train wrecks, and that's putting it lightly. The circular reference for Tyson's driveway and the event held at Tyson's corporate offices with one of

Elizabeth Eckford, Meets & Greets Tyson Managers

Elizabeth Eckford, Meets & Greets Tyson Managers

Picture Courtesy: Danielle L. Wood, U of A Recruiter

Elizabeth Eckford, Poses @ Tyson World Headquarters

Elizabeth Eckford, Poses @ Tyson World Headquarters

Picture Courtesy: Danielle L. Wood, U of A Recruiter

the original Little Rock Nine, Elizabeth Eckford, as keynote speaker, is an interesting analogy for what Oprah Winfrey would probably call a "full circle moment." A moment for me, in time, a product of the desegregated Little Rock Public School System as well as a desegregated University of Arkansas, Sam M. Walton College of Business it was most certainly a "full circle moment."

              I also have to mention that it was not all that long ago that I became familiar with the Little Rock Nine story. I can keenly remember a movie guy knocking on my parent's door one day about 10 or 15 years or so ago and asking for my dad. He said that he was making a movie about the Little Rock Nine and wanted to know if my father would be interested in letting the crew use a few of my dad's 1957 Fords in the movie. I think the name of the movie was the

"Earnest Green Story." Well, to make a long story short, my father's red 1957 Hardtop Ford Fairlane 500 opened the movie. But I was still too young back then to really know, understand and appreciate what it all meant. I thought it was cool, however, that my dad had cars in the movie (they used two of his '57 Fords or maybe it was three I can't really remember). The gesture of using my father's red Fairlane to open the movie gave me some serious bragging rights in high school. I got the chance to really show it off by ...