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Why we need these laws




Evening Times Editor

I was going to rant about how the president has nothing to do with gas prices for this column, but today as I was putting the “Today in History” section together, I ran across this little factoid among the other events of days gone by…

“1959 – A Federal Court annulled the Arkansas law allowing school closings to prevent integration.”

You can see it yourself on Page 11 if you like. I read that. Then I read it again. Let me offer you a ridiculously spelled-out explanation of that piece of trivia. In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court actually had to rule on a law in order that white people would be forced to let their children share a classroom with Black children. In response to this seemingly simple rule, the State of Arkansas passed its own law. That law would actually allow schools to shut down rather


From page A4

than have Black children in the same classroom as white children. So, if you’re wondering if such a thing had ever happened before, well, we’ve seen schools shut down because of a tornado or a snowstorm, and we closed schools because of COVID-19, so there you go. What does it take to shut down Arkansas schools? An act of God, a global pandemic… or the threat of integration.

That’s pretty pathetic, Arkansas…

You know the famous Little Rock 9 story, right? That was actually two years earlier, in 1957. Which means that after President of the United States had to bring in the National Guard to force the governor to allow integration, the leaders of our fine state decided to actually pass a law to try to stop it anyway. And this wasn’t a hundred years ago or anything. This was 1959, just 65 years ago. Some of those students are still alive. Many of you may even remember it when it happened. Of course, nowadays, our current governor is sending the National Guard to the Mexican border to prevent illegal immigration rather than legal integration.

And it’s not like suddenly everyone got on board with integration immediately after the ruling. Oh, Arkansas schools eventually got around to integrating. Do you know when, for example, Marion integrated? If you did not, would you have guessed 1970?


From page A5

We’re all “created equal” according to the very document our nation was founded upon, but man, there have been a ton of asterisks to that idea over the years. We’ve excluded people from that American ideal on the basis of not just race, but gender, religion, nation of origin, wealth (or lack thereof), and most recently in the spotlight, sexual orientation.

Yes, we have had to pass laws, adopt amendments and have the highest court in the land step in to force us as a nation to live up to that “created equal” mantra. If not for those laws, Blacks would still be slaves, women couldn’t vote, Jews and Muslims would be excluded from society, poor people could be sent to jail for poverty, and homosexuals could be sent to jail for simply existing.

The Supreme Court made another ruling, this one back in 2020, preventing employers from discriminating against members of the LGBTQ community. That’s right, folks. The only way gay people were guaranteed equal protection under the law was a Supreme Court decision.

I’m not gay. I’m not Black.

I’m just an average white guy.

None of these progressive laws and decisions really improved my station one bit, but I’m glad we have them. I’m also mad we had to have them at all. But that’s the world we live in.

And if you’ve ever wondered why we have these laws, it’s because we apparentrly have to. It sometimes takes a Constitutional mandate to get everyone to treat everyone the same.

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