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Published: May 3, 2011

Cooper v. Aaron

A 1958 U.S. Supreme Court decision that denied the right of the Little Rock, Arkansas, school board to delay racial integration of public schools. After mob activities threatened the safety of black students at Central High School in 1957, President DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER federalized the Arkansas National Guard and ordered it to enforce federal court desegregation orders. The mobs dispersed and the black children returned to school. Several months later, however, the school board asked for a delay in implementing the desegregation order because it had seriously disrupted education at Central High. The Court refused, saying that state authorities could not abridge the right of American citizens not to be discriminated against and that mob actions were no basis for depriving black children of their constitutional right to go to school. (See also AARON V. MCKINLEY.)