An activist for civil rights and education, Daisy Bates co-founded Arkansas’ State-Press Newspaper. In 1953, she was elected President of the Arkansas Conference of NAACP branches. After the 1954 Brown vs. the Board of Education of Topeka Kansas Supreme Court case (outlawing segregation in public schools), Bates pressured the Little Rock School Board to desegregate. In 1957, nine students were selected to enroll in the all-white Central High School.
Twice during September of 1957, the Little Rock Nine were prevented from entering Central High. Daisy Bates appealed to President Eisenhower. Eisenhower sent federal troops to Little Rock and the nine students were enrolled. Governor Faubus of Arkansas then closed the high schools. In August, 1958, the U.S. Eight Circuit of Appeals reopened the high schools.