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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Daisy Bates, October 11, 1976. Interview G-0009. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Starting a revolution with desegregation in Little Rock

Bates believes that the most significant contribution she made to the Little Rock crisis was successfully shepherding black students into a formerly all-white school without violence.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Daisy Bates, October 11, 1976. Interview G-0009. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

Okay, one last question, which is asking a lot. I wondered if you could tell me what you thought was your most important contribution in the Little Rock crisis. What was the most important contribution you think you made during that time?
DAISY BATES:
I think the very fact that the kids went in Central; they got in, that Faubus had thought they'd never do. And they remained there for the full year. And that opened a lot of doors that had been closed to Negroes, because this was the first time that this kind of revolution had succeeded without a doubt. And none of the children were really hurt physically. And I think that's one of the biggest contributions, unknown Because in New York, you couldn't stay in a hotel. When they opened the hotels in New York, they put Negroes on a separate floor. All the Negroes were assigned to a certain floor. And I went in and I asked one of the bellboys, I said, "What floor are we assigned to?" He said, "How do you know you're assigned to one floor?" (Laughs)
ELIZABETH JACOWAY:
(Laughs)
DAISY BATES:
I said, "Well, every time I've been here, we've been assigned to this floor."So that's what was happening in New York.
ELIZABETH JACOWAY:
So you set the precedent. You feel like you showed that it could be done.
DAISY BATES:
Yeah, well, that opened a lot of doors for a lot of people, because the kids came through. If one child had died . . .
ELIZABETH JACOWAY:
Oh, yeah.
DAISY BATES:
The white community wouldn't have had to, the black community would have chased me out of town. I knew that.