Segments in this Video

Hoxie Introduction (02:07)


Learn how the battle to implement the Brown vs. Board of Education school desegregation decision began in a small Arkansas town.

Challenging Jim Crow Laws (01:43)

Learn how segregation lasted decades after the 1896 "Separate but Equal" decision. In the '30s, the NAACP began appealing to the Supreme Court to desegregate schools.

Brown vs. Board of Education (01:06)

In 1954, Thurgood Marshall led the Supreme Court to ban segregation in schools—sending shock waves through the South.

Arkansas Integration (00:55)

After Brown vs. Board of Education, Fayetteville and Charleston school districts complied with a press blackout—but Southern resistance continued to grow.

Resisting Integration (02:55)

Southern leaders formed Citizens' Councils defending state sovereignty and the right of interposition. Learn how they used legal wording to delay implementation indefinitely.

Hoxie, Arkansas (01:43)

African-American and white residents describe how the integrated community worked together to survive.

Segregated School System (01:57)

Hoxie residents describe an inferior elementary school for African-American students prior to 1955, and deep-seated racism among Southern whites.

Voluntary Integration (02:16)

Hoxie School Board members recall voting to bring African-American children into white schools after Brown vs. Board of Education. Residents describe apprehension before the transition.

First Day of Integration (01:58)

On July 11, 1955, African-American and white children attended Hoxie schools together for the first time. Despite some parents' trepidation, they played and got along; view photographs by a Life Magazine journalist.

Hoxie Integration Controversy (02:11)

A Life Magazine story covering the first school day became a rallying cry for both sides of the debate. Segregationists targeted the district to prevent it from setting a precedent for the South.

Integration Boycott (03:25)

Learn how segregationists influenced Hoxie residents such as Herbert Brewer, who convinced white parents to keep their children home. The issue divided families and the community.

Outside Segregation Agitators (03:47)

Arkansas senator Jim Johnson proposed a state amendment to block integration; he and lawyer Amos Guthridge advised Brewer on starting a Citizen's Council in Hoxie. Learn how racial tensions increased within the community.

Segregationist Rhetoric (02:06)

Johnson and Guthridge confronted the Hoxie school board and adopted a boycott resolution. Learn white Southern fears of integration and interracial marriage.

Hoxie Polarization (02:37)

Segregationist rhetoric linked integration to communism. Brewer delivered a petition calling for the school board's resignation; President Howard Vance started receiving threats from other white residents for refusing to step down.

Hoxie Escalation (Disturbing) (01:41)

African-American residents recall harassment by white students as they went to school. Learn how the Emmett Till case was used as an intimidation tactic.

Legal Support for Integration (04:28)

The NAACP sent Mildred Bond to boost African-American morale in Hoxie. Vance hired liberal lawyers Bill and Roy Penix, who recruited Civil Rights Administrator A.B. Caldwell to form a strategy.

Hoxie Violence (03:13)

Vance started receiving death threats; an African-American resident describes a drive-by shooting. Caldwell convinced the Hoover Administration to send FBI agents for counter-intimidation.

Anti-Integration Rally (02:32)

FBI agents intimidated Hoxie residents that had signed the integration boycott. Johnson describes his state's rights speech restoring segregationist confidence; the agents withdrew soon after.

Challenging Arkansas Segregationists (02:49)

Bill Penix petitioned the Federal Court to protect schools during the integration process. Judge Reeves ordered an end to harassment in Hoxie; attending integrated schools was constitutionally protected as a civil right.

States' Rights Campaign (00:55)

Johnson filed an appeal to the Hoxie decision and 96 Southern politicians signed a manifesto against integration.

Arkansas Integration Victory (01:34)

With Eisenhower and Justice Department support, a St. Louis judge overturned segregationist laws and ruled in favor of the Hoxie school board.

Hoxie Reaction (01:15)

Outside segregationists left the divided community, while Brewer continued fighting the school board—but integration was upheld.

Little Rock Confrontation (02:34)

Arkansas Governor Faubus adopted a segregationist platform to stay in office. This lead to Eisenhower sending troops to protect school integration—events overshadowing the Hoxie case in history.

Hoxie Legacy (02:51)

Despite being overshadowed by Little Rock events, the Hoxie school board's legal victory set a precedent for Southern integration and showed that leadership could overcome racism and bigotry.

Credits: Hoxie: The First Stand (00:48)

Credits: Hoxie: The First Stand

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Hoxie: The First Stand

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How many people know that the first battle to implement the Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation decision was fought in the small, rural town of Hoxie, Arkansas? Or that it became a flashpoint because it offered a peaceful alternative to the bloody Massive Resistance campaigns of the next decade? Hoxie sparked the first deployment of federal agents in support of integration and the first court order overturning state segregation laws. But it also showed that unscrupulous politicians would fan unfounded fears into violent anti-government fury, all too reminiscent of similar movements today. (56 minutes)

Length: 56 minutes

Item#: BVL57867

Copyright date: ©2003

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

Peabody Award

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