Dr. Boozman's Check-up
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator John Boozman recognized the 60th anniversary of integration in Hoxie in the Congressional Record, the official proceedings of Congress.
Boozman’s office will present a copy of the Congressional Record at events commemorating this anniversary. The following are the remarks printed in the Congressional Record:
Mr. President, I rise today to honor the resilience, determination and courage of the community of Hoxie, Arkansas for its leadership in school desegregation and the foundation it laid for integration across the country.
This year, the community is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the first day of school for the African American students who became known as the Hoxie 21.
This small Northeast Arkansas community voluntarily integrated its schools in the summer of 1955 in response to the Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education. The reasoning for the school board and Superintendent Kunkel Edward Vance’s decision was simple; integration was "morally right in the sight of God."
On July 11, 1955, African American students made history in Hoxie and helped build the momentum for integration.
This unprecedented move began with a smooth transition, and the students were welcomed into the school. The news of a small town in the South desegregating peacefully caught the attention of Life Magazine, and in its July 1955 issue the
story captured the attention of the world. Unfortunately, the media attention brought with it an avalanche of negativity despite the positive and peaceful progression.
This action was unpopular in the South and while segregationists flooded the community in protest, families of the Hoxie 21 and school leaders stood their ground and with great faith persevered against the inequality.
The Hoxie School Board fought back by filing suit on the segregationists, charging the segregationists with trespassing on school property, threatening picket lines, organizing boycotts and intimidating school officials. Citizens of Hoxie of all races peacefully waited for a resolution, and with encouragement from the NAACP were able to stand up against the verbal and physical threats from the segregationists. Their patience and fortitude was soon rewarded. In September, the FBI became involved in the investigation. Two months later, Federal District Judge Thomas C. Trimble ruled that segregationists prevented integration in Hoxie, and issued a temporary restraining order against them. In December, a permanent ban against the segregationist was issued and later upheld by the Supreme Court, freeing the school of their influence. It was the first mediation in support of a school district trying to comply with Brown v. Board of Education - a momentous moment for the country and a victory for integration.
This decision was instrumental in desegregating the entire country and was a major victory for the 14th Amendment. This demonstrates that change only comes when people stand up for what is morally right.
I congratulate the town of Hoxie and the Hoxie 21 on this milestone. I am encouraged by your dedication to share this history and positive message. I thank the Hoxie 21 and the community for their bravery in the face of adversity. It is an honor to tell your story and educate people about your struggle.