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Eisenhower Dispatches Federal Troops to Enforce Desegregation

On September 24, 1957, The Little Rock Nine attended their first full day of classes after President Eisenhower ordered the dispatch of the 101st  Airborne Division of the U.S. Army to ensure the students’ safety and to uphold the law of the Supreme Court.

On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education that segregated schools are “inherently unequal.” In September 1957, as a result of that ruling, nine African-American students enrolled at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The ensuing struggle between segregationists and integrationists, the State of Arkansas and the federal government, President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus, has become known in modern American history as the “Little Rock Crisis.” The crisis gained world-wide attention. When Governor Faubus ordered the Arkansas National Guard to surround Central High School to keep the nine students from entering the school, President Eisenhower ordered the 101st Airborne Division into Little Rock.

The manuscript holdings of the Eisenhower Presidential Library contain a large amount of documentation on this historic test of the Brown vs. Topeka ruling and school integration.  See selections from the digital catalog here.

Photo: Little Rock Nine escorted into Central High School by U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division soldiers.  Courtesy of Central High Museum Historical Collections.

Documents: Press release, Executive Order 10730, Providing for the Removal of an Obstruction of Justice Within the State of Arkansas, September 24, 1957

-from the Eisenhower Library

All censorships exist to prevent anyone from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently, the first condition of progress is the removal of censorship.
For Banned Books Week, George Bernard Shaw (above) and other literary icons on censorship (via explore-blog)


Hit the Source: Research, bibliographies, and databases. 

Sources are an interesting thing. If someone throws enough of them at you, you’re inclined to believe that what they’re saying is true, that all the sources are relevant, and that they’re all unbiased and accurate sources. 

This is not always true. Just like the news outlets, some of them have specific biases, or present information in misleading ways. But sources can be incredibly important, and immensely helpful for writing papers. 

Here’s why, as explained by Grinnell:

Citation is important because it is the basis of academics, that is, the pursuit of knowledge. In the academic endeavor, individuals look at evidence and reason about that evidence in their own individual ways. That is, taking what is already known, established, or thought, they use their reasoning power to create new knowledge. In creating this knowledge, they must cite their sources accurately for three main reasons:

Reason One: Because ideas are the currency of academia

Reason Two: Because failing to cite violates the rights of the person who originated the idea. (Implicit or Explicit claims the idea is yours is plagiarism). 

Reason Three: Because academics need to be able to trace the genealogy of ideas 

Read and save the PDF here. I have removed the explanations that follow the reasons for a quick read, but I recommend you go back and read them. It also answers the question: “Doesn’t the ownership of ideas reek of Capitalism?”, and gives a great run-down of citing yourself, citing other people, extended quotations, and laziness in writing.  

In summary: Ideas are valuable, they have ‘ownership’ and ‘credit’ to the people who had them, and tracing how and why ideas change can help you learn. Pretending ideas are of your own invention is plagiarism. 

So what about doing research? People paste long bibliographies and that doesn’t seem to do anything. Why are those needed? 

Bibliographies and Annotated Bibliographies are a list of sources regarding a particular subject or topic - or directly relevant to a particular paper. They may look something like this:


— Screencap of Bibliography: Free People of Color and Creoles of Color

Sometimes, bibliographies are annotated, meaning they give a short description of each entry - perhaps a paragraph of information explaining each source, its usefulness, a summary, or other pertinent information. Annotated bibliographies can cut down on the time you spend trying to determine if a source is relevant for you. 

Purdue OWL gives samples of Annotated Bibliographies here. Here’s a student project from U Michigan that shows an annotated bibliography regarding Chicanos and identity. Here's a much more elaborate annotated bibliography regarding Native American history in Federal Documents. You can see there's a big difference between an extensive annotated bibliography, and a concise one. Both formats, however, can tell you what the bibliography's author thinks of the sources. 

This means that the author of the bibliography may be biased or disregard things that aren’t useful to them, but may be helpful to you! 

The accepted citation format for history and art history is Chicago style, a quick guide can be found here.

Citations tell you: Who wrote or edited something, where it was published, who published it, when it was published, and the title. It can even tell you the volume, edition, and translator. 

When you find a book or journal related to something you’re trying to learn more about, you can look at footnotes, or the bibliography in order to find where they got their information. 

Say I’m looking up slave culture in New Orleans:

Donaldson, Gary A. A Window on Slave Culture: Dances at Congo Square in New Orleans, 1800-1862.” Journal of Negro History 69, no. 2 (Spring 1984): 63-72.

I find this article online, and access it through a database. (I used JStor, in this case.) It was published in 1984, so I already know that anything this paper cites came out in 1984 or before 1984. 

The footnotes (or end notes, in this case, because they came at the end of the paper) tell me where the author got their information:


This author even annotated their endnotes, telling us more information about the sources they used. If any of those end notes seem relevant to me, I can write them down, and look for them later. 

But since this was published in 1984, it might also be helpful to see who has mentioned this paper since 1984 for more current information. 

JStor and Google Scholar (as well as other databases) have helpful buttons like these:


"2 items citing this item"

Other items (written works by the author)


and Related Items.

Clicking on “2 items citing this item” gives me a list of things published after the article came out in 1984 that cite this. It actually gives me 3 things when I click on the button:

How to Do Research for Your Novel


When does research become a bad thing? When writers use it as an excuse not to start writing yet. I’ve seen writers spend ten years researching a novel that not only didn’t require such exhaustive background research; it would have been better off without it. Still…



Happy 227th #ConstitutionDay!

September 17 is designated as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day to commemorate the signing of the U.S. Constitution in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787. Learn more about the U.S. Constitution through programs, and resources from the National Archives:

Have you ever been to the usnatarchives to see the Constitution in person?  

Bonus question - have you ever slept over in the same room as the Constitution?


The Oxford Companion to Food fact of the week

The word ‘supper’ is derived from the Germanic root for ‘sop’ which are pieces of bread soaked in broth before consumption.

Follow #OxCompFood across social media for other delicious food facts from The Oxford Companion to Food.
Image via Pixabay.
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The Oxford Companion to Food fact of the week

The word ‘supper’ is derived from the Germanic root for ‘sop’ which are pieces of bread soaked in broth before consumption.

Follow #OxCompFood across social media for other delicious food facts from The Oxford Companion to Food.

Image via Pixabay.

Who is the unreliable narrator?


The character who is an unreliable narrator can be one of the most powerful tools available to a writer. The unreliability may be obvious to the reader throughout the novel, may be revealed gradually or may come as a single revelation that results in a major plot twist.

An unreliable narrator is a character who tells the readers a story that the reader cannot take at face value. This may be because the point of view character is insane, lying, deluded or for any number of other reasons.

Read More →


The 2014 Young People’s Literature Longlist for the National Book Award was announced this morning. Congratulations to all these fine authors!

Laurie Halse Anderson, The Impossible Knife of Memory

Gail Giles, Girls Like Us

Carl Hiaasen, Skink— No Surrender

Kate Milford, Greenglass House

Eliot Schrefer, Threatened

Steve Sheinkin, The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights

Andrew Smith, 100 Sideways Miles

John Corey Whaley, Noggin

Deborah Wiles, Revolution: The Sixties Trilogy, Book Two

Jacqueline Woodson, Brown Girl Dreaming

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