Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies 24, Section 1

Documentary Playmaking: School Integration, Little Rock, 1957-58 (1 unit, P/NP)

Professor Dunbar Ogden
Monday 2:00-4:00, 8 Zellerbach Hall, Class number: 21300

On the fateful morning of September 4, 1957, a small group of African-American students walked up to the doors of Central High, Little Rock, to enroll in school–--and were turned away by the armed National Guard. Arkansas State Governor Faubus had called out the Guard to surround the building. "Blood will run in the streets," said Faubus, "if Negro pupils should attempt to enter Central High School." A racist mob seethed out front. Eventually the courageous group of children did enter. The first of them graduated in the spring of 1958. They came to be known as the Little Rock Nine; Central High was the first major integrated public high school in the South. Nowadays many people regard their mentor, Daisy Bates, on a level with Martin Luther King, Jr. Each student in our Freshman Seminar will select a person who participated in the integration of Central High, study historical documents linked with that individual, and develop an original monologue in the role of the person, perhaps as one of the Little Rock Nine or as the Governor or as the principal of Central High. We will encourage each student to experiment with a role different from his or her own gender and cultural background. Daisy Bates' THE LONG SHADOW OF LITTLE ROCK and Melba Pattillo Beals' WARRIORS DON'T CRY will be the required books.

Instructor Bio

Professor Dunbar H. Ogden has just published a book entitled MY FATHER SAID YES, about the integration crisis at Central High School, Little Rock. He has developed this civil rights book in conjunction with students in his Freshman Seminars since 2000. Professor Ogden is also the author of books on actors, set design, and theatrical space.

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