55th anniversary of the Little Rock 9: Civil Rights festival

September 6, 2012


This month marks the 55th anniversary of the first attempt to desegregate Little Rock’s Central High School, by the nine brave students known as the Little Rock Nine.

Now the school carries a designation as a National Historic Site, managed by the National Park Service.  A Visitors Center for interpretation and information stands across the street — and that will be the center of the official commemoration of the 55th anniversary of the desegregation crisis.  Experts, scholars, celebrities, and a film festival.

Ain’t that great about America?  We have a great crisis; it takes a couple of years but we work through it.  Then we designate the site for historical purposes, and within a half-century we have a festival where, among other things, we note how much progress we’ve made as a nation in living up to the ideals laid out in the Declaration of Indpendence, the Constitution, the Gettysburg Address and the Letter from Birmingham Jail.  Only in America, right?

Here’s a list of events and activities I got in e-mail today.  If you’re in the area Sepember 21 through 25, go see.  Call for reservations.

55th Anniversary Commemoration Events

Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, in partnership with the Little Rock Film Festival, commemorates the 55th anniversary of the desegregation crisis with a variety of events this month. The events, which take place in various venues, are FREE and open to the public, but tickets are required.

Events run from Friday, Sept. 21 – Tuesday, Sept. 25 and will include appearances by:

The Little Rock Nine
Tuesday, Sept. 25th at Argenta Community Theater

Tuesday, Sept. 25th at Argenta Community Theater

Sunday, Sept. 23rd at Argenta Community Theater
Friday, Sept. 21 – Tuesday, Sept. 25 – The Reel Civil Rights Film Festival
Miss Representation
The Little Rock Film Festival presents The Reel Civil Rights Film Festival which will be featuring documentaries and films related to past and present civil and human rights issues in the United States and abroad; an intimate conversation with iconic Olympic Gold Medalist Tommie Smith; guest directors; panel discussions; and a special awards ceremony to honor the Little Rock Nine and humanitarian Harry Belafonte.
Saturday, Sept. 22 – MTV’s “Real World” Kevin Powell Speaks!
Kevin Powell
Kevin Powell, activist, writer, public speaker, and entrepreneur speaks at Oxford American Magazine, located at 1300 Main St. in Little Rock at 10 am.
Tuesday, Sept. 25 – Film Screening, Ceremony to honor Little Rock Nine and Harry Belafonte
Sing Your Song
Screening of Harry Belafonte’s documentary, Sing Your Song: The Music, Hope and Vision of a Man and an Era, guest remarks by Mr. Belafonte; and an awards ceremony to honor both the Little Rock Nine and Belafonte at Argenta Community Theater, located at 405 Main St. in North Little Rock at 6 pm.
For a complete line up of events and ticket information, please follow the link below:
To reserve tickets for the FREE events, please visit
or drop by Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
visitor center
About Us
Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site is located at 2120 W. Daisy L. Gatson Bates Drive, diagonally across the street from Central High School. The visitor center is open from 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., seven days a week.  Admission is free. For more information, call 501.374.1957 or email chsc_visitor_center@nps.gov.
Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
2120 W. Daisy L Gatson Bates Drive
Little Rock, Arkansas 72202


Night skies at Yosemite, in time-lapse

September 6, 2012

Yosemite National Park, watching stars, with time-lapse photography.  The only way life gets better than this is to go there and film it yourself.  Yosemite Nature Notes 19.

Description from Nature Notes:

Yosemite’s vast acreage and remote location protect some of the darkest night skies in the country. Astronomers, photographers and city dwellers flock to the park to take advantage of this unique opportunity to view planets, stars, and galaxies.

Producer is Steven M. Bumgardner, and it features, inter alia, an interview with Shawn Reeder, whose time-lapse work I’ve highlighted before.

For classroom use, some topics and questions to pursue:

  • For geography, where is Yosemite N.P.?  Flying commercially, which airport is the best to get to the park?

    President Teddy Roosevelt and conservationist John Muir at Overhanging Rock, Glacier Point, Yosemite

    President Teddy Roosevelt and conservationist John Muir pose at Overhanging Rock at the top of Glacier Point, near which the men camped in a hollow and awoke to five inches of snow in 1903. National Park Service image

  • Map reading and orientation:  In the time-lapse sequences, you can frequently see lights streaking across the sky.  Those are commercial airliners — can you tell what airport they are headed to, or from?  Can you tell which ones are coming, which going?
  • Science:  What star formations do you see in these photographs that you can see from your house?  What star formations are not visible from your house?
  • Government:  Who signs the checks that pay the rangers pictured in the film?  For which agency do the work, in which branch of which government?
  • People in the film discuss light pollution from nearby cities.  Is there an agency in the federal government who has jurisdiction over light pollution?  How about an  agency in the state government?  What are the rules on light pollution for cities around Yosemite?
  • Can you identify the landmarks, the cliffs, rocks, mountains and rivers, portrayed in the film?  (Students might use a USGS topographical map, California state tourist promotion maps and websites, National Park Service databases, Google Earth, Google,  and a wide variety of other sources.
  • Who was president of the U.S. when Yosemite was set aside as a National Park, and what were the controversies surrounding it?
  • Who was John Muir?  Who was Frederick Law Olmsted?  What were their roles in the history of Yosemite?
  • Who lived in Yosemite, if anyone, before the Spanish missions were established in California?  When were the missions established?  How did the U.S. gain possession of the Yosemite Valley?

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