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Little Rock Nine member Jefferson Thomas dies

4 years ago September 06, 2010 Sep 6, 2010 Monday, September 06 2010 Monday, September 06, 2010 10:07:39 AM EDT in News
Source: Associated Press

Jefferson Thomas, one of the first nine black students to enroll in desegregated Arkansas' schools, has died at age 68 in Columbus, Ohio.

Fellow Little Rock Nine member Minnijean Trickey Brown says Thomas died Sunday. Trickey Brown did not know the cause of death and declined further comment.

In 1957, Thomas and Trickey Brown joined Elizabeth Eckford, Carlotta Walls LaNier, Gloria Ray Karlmark, Thelma Mothershed Wair, Terrence Roberts, Melba Patillo Beals and Ernest Green in becoming the first black students to attend Little Rock Central High School.

President Dwight Eisenhower dispatched the 101st Airborne to escort the students after Little Rock after Gov. Orval Faubus tried to prevent them from enrolling at the school.

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