A Life Is More Than a Moment, 50th Anniversary

A Life Is More Than a Moment, 50th Anniversary

The Desegregation of Little Rock's Central High
Ira Wilmer Counts, photographs by Ira Wilmer Counts, text by Ira Wilmer Counts
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 03/21/2007
Format: Paperback 107 b&w photos
ISBN: 978-0-253-21793-6
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Taken a half-century ago, these photographs depict the desegregation crisis in Little Rock, Arkansas. In 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower was so moved at the beating of veteran Alex Wilson that he ordered 1,200 paratroopers from the 101st Airborne to Little Rock, and federalized the Arkansas National Guard to quell the "disgraceful occurrences." A Life Is More Than a Moment carries us back to those painful and turbulent times, but it does not leave us there. In addition to these immortal photos, photographer Will Counts also took new portraits of many of the original subjects when he returned to Little Rock in 1997. Essays by Robert S. McCord, Ernest Dumas, and Will Campbell chart the path leading to the crisis and define its impact on the civil rights movement. This book shows an ugly hatred, but in the end, it is also a book of hope and reconciliation.

Author Bio

Will Counts (1931–2001) attended Little Rock High School (now Little Rock Central High). During the Central High integration crisis between 1957 and 1960 he worked as a photographer for the Arkansas Democrat for which one of his photographs was runner-up for the 1957 Pulitzer Prize in photography.


“Commemorating the 50th anniversary of Little Rock Central High's dramatic desegregation crisis, this book carries us back to those painful and turbulent days, at the same time revealing a promise of hope and reconciliation.”

“"A hopeful reminder of how far we've come in four short decades." —Kirkus Reviews "This book is a powerful and moving reminder of a painful time in U.S. history and the lingering legacy of racism." —Booklist Young photojournalist Will Counts had been with the Arkansas Democrat barely three months when National Guard troops were sent to surround Central High School, preventing black students from entering. Counts's photographs (runner-up for that year's Pulitzer) captured the essence of "the Little Rock Crisis" and have become a chilling and enduring testimony to the hatred and violence of racial discrimination. But the book does not leave us in the 1950s. Counts returned to Central High for a new series of photographs and managed to find many of the most important people in his original pictures. Counts, the consummate storyteller, gives voice to their lives. Includes enlightening background essays by Bob McCord, Ernie Dumas, and Will Campbell.”

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Table of Contents

Preface 000
Introduction by Will Campbell 000
A Perspective of Central High by Ernest Dumas 1
An Unexpected Crisis by Robert S. McCord 9
Covering the Crisis 29
Back to Central High 57
The Congressional Gold Medal 75
Epilogue by Robert S. McCord 77