He probably didn’t get much sleep the night before.
He had to be nervous…hell, he had to be scared.
But Jefferson Thomas went to school in 1957...and he kept on going, despite threats of violence and constant harassment.
I have long been in awe of the Little Rock Nine. My parents used them as an example of the price paid so I could get a decent education, so I was raised on the story of nine brave young people desegregating Little Rock Central High. Their story got me through many a challenging moment at school – when some student called me a racial slur or made fun of my kinky hair, I’d think of the Little Rock Nine and the constant harassment they faced. Not only did they pave the way in 1957, but their story offered inspiration and emotional fuel for those of us who faced racism at our desegregated schools years later.
Jefferson Thomas died Sunday after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
But his legacy…the legacy of the Little Rock Nine…lives on.
Jefferson Thomas was 67 years old.