As a junior in high school, Minnijean Brown Trickey made a difference. She set a standard and she fought for what she believed in. More than 50 years later, she encouraged USAO students to do the very same.
Last fall, Minnijean Brown Trickey, a civil rights activist and member of the Little Rock Nine, delivered the keynote address at the Giles Symposium on Citizenship and Public Service.
This annual academic event on USAO’s campus is made possible by a gift from the daughter of the late Senator Ray and Mary Giles.
Trickey and eight fellow black students integrated into the all-white Central High School in 1957. In this tense moment in American history, federal troops were brought in to protect the students and supersede the Arkansas National Guard, who had been sent to block the black students from attending the previously all-white school.
Trickey has continued to serve as an activist throughout her life and shared her story with USAO students, faculty, staff and community members in October.
Trickey recalled the political events surrounding the integration of Central High School in a personal way, allowing the audience a chance to catch a glimpse of the struggle she and her black classmates experienced.
Furthermore, she encouraged the audience to create change and to advocate for what is right, to ask questions and to challenge the system when necessary.
Earlier that afternoon, Trickey served on a panel discussion focusing on civil rights in the new century. The panel also featured Dr. George Henderson, who broke through similar race barriers at the University of Oklahoma in the 1960s.
Ray & Mary Giles Symposium on Citizenship & Public Service
October 27th, 2011
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Human Rights Advocate &
New York Times Bestselling Author