The NAACP will host its annual Daisy Bates Education Summit in Raleigh, N.C. on Dec. 2 through Dec. 4. Named after the late Daisy Bates, advisor to the revered Little Rock Nine, the summit will assemble grassroots organizations nationwide to fight for her dream of equity in the nation’s schools.
“Despite mob threats intimidation and cross burnings on her property, Daisy Bates persisted because of her strong beliefs of a quality education system for America’s children,” NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous said in a statement. “This nation needs comprehensive education reform from pre-kindergarten to college, and now is not the time to sit on the sidelines.”
The three-day summit will include speeches and presentations by NAACP leaders including Jealous and the National Board of Education Committee Chairman Adora Obi Nweze. Sessions will include “Organizing for great teaching in a school” and “Understanding how your state funds schools.”
“The only way … we can pull this country out of the great recession is to educate the next generation to compete in a global economy, and that starts with access to a quality, equitable and fair education system,” Jealous said in a statement. “Throughout this summit the NAACP will address the current problems within our education system, the attempt to re-segregate schools across the country and roll back the clock on the children of this nation.”
Bates, who also served as the president of the Arkansas State Conference of the NAACP, led the organization’s protest against the Little Rock School board’s plan to deter integration of the public schools, according to A&E’s Biography.com.
In 1957, after facing intense pressure, the school board agreed to integrate Central High School. Nine Blacks were chosen to enroll in the school and were led by Bates on their first day, despite extreme opposition from Whites which included threats, acts of violence and rallies. On Sept. 25, President Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered Arkansas’ National Guards and 1,000 paratroopers to escort Bates and the teens safely into the school. Thereafter, she continued to be the student’s advisor during their tenure at the school.
“Every time educational equity is attacked, equity is denied and there are steps towards re-segregation, another 100 Daisy Bates are raised up to meet the challenge,” NAACP North Carolina State Conference President Rev. Dr. William J. Barber said in a statement. “We must fight not for ourselves but for our children–this must include working, pushing demanding high quality constitutional diverse well funded public education for every child–no exceptions-nothing any less–this must be at the center of our justice agenda.”