|Name||Orval E. Faubus|
Huntsville, Arkansas , United States
|| January 07, 1910
|| December 14, 1994
Dec 14, 2008 06:35pm
|Info||Orval Eugene Faubus was born in Arkansas on 7th January 1910. His father, Sam Faubus, was an active member of the Socialist Party and gave his son the middle name Eugene after one of his heroes, Eugene Debs. As a child Faubus was told by his father that "capitalism was a fraud and that both poor whites and blacks were its victims". |
Faubus trained to be a teacher at Commonwealth College in Arkansas. He became interested in politics and joined the Democratic Party. Despite his upbringing by a racially tolerant socialist, Faubus became increasingly right-wing in his views.
During the Second World War Faubus joined the United States Army and rose to the rank of major in Army Intelligence. After the war he returned home and continued in politics, becoming the State Highway Commissioner.
In 1954 Faubus ran for governor as a liberal promising to increase spending on schools and roads. Although portrayed as a "dangerous radical", Faubus was successfully elected. In the first few months of his administration Faubus desegregated state buses and public transportation. He also began to investigate the possibility of introducing multi-racial schools. This resulted in him being attacked by Jim Johnson, the leader of the right-wing of the party in Arkansas.
Faubus later told a journalist working for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that "it is true in politics as it is in life that survival is the first law.". Fearing he would lose office Faubus decided to fight the decision by the Supreme Court in 1954 that separate schools were not equal and were therefore unconstitutional.
In 1957, Faubus used the National Guard to stop black children from attending the Little Rock Central High School. On 24th September, 1957, President Dwight Eisenhower, went on television and told the American people: "At a time when we face grave situations abroad because of the hatred that communism bears towards a system of government based on human rights, it would be difficult to exaggerate the harm that is being done to the prestige and influence and indeed to the safety of our nation and the world. Our enemies are gloating over this incident and using it everywhere to misrepresent our whole nation."
After trying for eighteen days to persuade Faubus to obey the ruling of the Supreme Court, Eisenhower decided to send federal troops to Arkansas to ensure that black children could go to Little Rock Central High School. The white population of Little Rock were furious that they were being forced to integrate their school and Faubus described the federal troops as an army of occupation.
Faubus was elected governor of Arkansas six times and served in the post for twelve years. After the 1965 Voting Act, making it easier for African Americans to vote, Faubus political career came to an end. Attempts in 1970, 1974 and 1986 all ended in failure. Orval Faubus died of cancer in December 1994.