Correction on the MLK Comic Book
anonymous reader writes in:
your Martin Luther King, Jr. comic book: Though you
state it was published in 1956 (when the Montgomery bus boycott
ended), it could NOT have been published before
at least the fall of 1957. The reason is that
on page 13 of both English and Spanish versions (second scene),
it depicts a famous incident that occurred here in Little Rock
on September 4, 1957, at the start of the Central High crisis.
Elizabeth Eckford, one of the Little Rock Nine, was going to
Central High by herself on that day. Since her family didn't
have a telephone, she wasn't aware that the rest of the Nine
were going to school as a group, accompanied by ministers and
their mentor Daisy Bates; she also wasn't aware that the Arkansas
National Guard had been ordered by Gov. Orval Faubus to keep
them out of school. (The rest of the Nine were turned away peacefully
on that day.) Eckford walked to school from a city bus stop
nearby, initially unaware of the angry mob and Guardsmen gathered
outside the school.
As Eckford attempted to go to school (before being turned away
by the Guardsmen), she was shouted at and spat upon by the mob.
One particular white teenage girl was caught screaming angrily
at her in both television footage and at least two famous photographs
of the day; that is the scene depicted in the comic book. The
teenager was unidentified for 40 years; she was eventually identified
as Hazel Bryan, now Hazel Massery. (She and Eckford have been
friends for years.) Eckford is the girl with glasses on the
right; Massery is the girl screaming in the background. (The
boy in the comic doesn't appear in any of the pictures I've
After an abortive attempt to enter on September 23, the Nine
finally entered Central High on September 25, escorted by the
101st Airborne Division under orders from President Eisenhower.
The President also federalized the Arkansas National Guard,
and the same Guardsmen who kept the Nine out on that first day
protected them for the rest of the school year after the 101st
There are other indications that the comic was published in
late 1957 or early 1958: It spends most of page 8 and all of
page 9 on incidents in Montgomery after the end of the bus boycott
on December 21, 1956; that much material could not have been
inserted into a comic book in 10 days or less without computerized
printing technology, which wasn't available in the 1950's. Also,
the text on page 13 refers to "the schoolgirl in Little
Rock", clearly Eckford (though I'm not sure if the quote
is properly attributable to her), and is written as if the incident
is still fresh in the minds of readers; though there were Central
High-related court and school-board actions before September
1957 (and there were other integration incidents elsewhere in
Arkansas as early as 1955), none fit those specific words before
this incident. Finally, it makes no mention of Faubus' closing
all Little Rock public schools for the 1958-59 school year to
prevent integration (which was reversed by the "law-abiding
white citizens" of Little Rock, much like in Montgomery
but with little if any violence); thus it was probably
published between the fall of 1957 and the summer of 1958.
All of these facts can be checked by searching the Web. A Yahoo!
search on Eckford's name turned up several good sites with details
on the incident; I suspect you could also use the names of Hazel
Massery and Will Counts (who took perhaps the best-known photo
of the incident, and also was involved in the disclosure of
Massery's identity in 1997).
You - We appreciate this comment.
to the MLK Comic Book