The Little Rock Nine made history 60 years ago when they became the first black students to enroll in an all-white high school in Little Rock, Ark.
The black teenagers stood outside Central High School for three weeks, where they faced opposition from an angry mob of protesters, fellow classmates and state officials. In fact, then-Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus deployed the Arkansas National Guard to block the nine students from entering the building. President Dwight D. Eisenhower would eventually intervene, calling on federal troops to escort the students to class.
Sixty years after the Little Rock Nine integrated that school, educational inequality in the U.S. persists. Array’s Teach Us All is a film dedicated to bringing awareness to this pressing issue.
“It’s race, income, language, but people try to separate it and say it’s just a socioeconomic thing. And, again, try to deny the racial implications of it, but the data shows that it’s still a largely racial issue,” Teach Us All director Sonia Lowman told The Root.
Teach Us All, which is Lowman’s directorial debut, explores the U.S. education system from the Little Rock Nine to today—with an emphasis on New York and California, states that have some of the most “deeply segregated” school systems.
“I think the question is the disparity, of resources, of qualified teachers, and of general attention of our American education system to schools that are in communities of color,” Academy Award-nominated director and Array founder Ava DuVernay told The Root. “You thought that schools were desegregated, you thought that this had been handled with the Little Rock Nine, decades ago? It has not.”
Teach Us All premieres on Netflix on Monday.