Fifty-one years ago this morning, if you stood on the steps of Little Rock High School, you could hear the angry white mob chant “Two, four, six, eight; we don’t want to integrate!”.
Arkansas’ Governor Orval Faubus was taking a stand against the Supreme Court ruling that ordered all United States public schools to racially integrate and sent the state’s National Guard to block the entrance to the school for the black students. Twenty days later on this date President Eisenhower broke the blockade and sent in the 101st Airborne Division to escort the nine students inside. Here is a short but great documentary of what happened during that month.
Two years later, jazz composer Charles Mingus tried to break new ground with a song protesting Faubus and the long inaction by Eisenhower with “Fables of Faubus“:
Actually, that song wasn’t released in its intended format for another year. Columbia Records thought that the lyrics were too racially charged for it’s audience and had the lyrics removed and the tone whitewashed. Mingus went to a smaller independent label later for that raw version to come out and called it “Original Faubus Fables”.
The lyrics don’t pull any punches as you can hear Mingus mock the chant: Two, four, six, eight; They brain-wash and teach you hate