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Daisy Gatson Bates Day: History and Significance of the Day



Daisy Gatson Bates Day (1)

This year’s Daisy Gatson Bates Day falls on February 19, as it is always observed on the third Monday in February. A lot of United States educational institutions, particularly those in Arkansas, take the time to include programs that honor the life and legacy of this activist who sacrificed much to improve the world. There might also be a lot of activities in Daisy Bates’ honor.

Daisy Gatson Bates Day History

Every year on the third Monday in February, people celebrate Daisy Gatson Bates Day. In the United States, and particularly in Arkansas, a lot of educational institutions take the time to include programs that honor Daisy Lee Gatson Bates’ life and contributions. In addition, a lot of activities might be hosted in Bates’ honor.

Daisy Gatson Bates Day is a public holiday observed in Arkansas to commemorate the life of the civil rights activist who played a key role in the 1957 integration crisis at Little Rock Central High School. The majority of businesses and schools in Arkansas close on this day to honor her service to the community.

In 1913, Bates was born in Huttig, Arkansas. Three Caucasian men killed her mother when she was just three years old, leaving a deep mark on her naive mind. She was forced to confront the pervasive problem of racism and discrimination based on skin color as a result of this regrettable and profoundly life-changing event, which inspired her to dedicate her life to eradicating racial injustice.

The couple, who were married when she was 15, established “The Arkansas Weekly,” their newspaper, after moving to Little Rock, Arkansas. The publication was started with the explicit goal of becoming the national voice of African Americans and raising awareness of social and civil rights issues. Bates was an editor as well as a consistent contributor of articles supporting the cause.

To effect change on a broader front, Bates also maintained close ties with numerous local Civil Rights organizations, including serving as the President of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (N.A.A.C.P.) chapter in Arkansas. Bates is now well-known due to her tireless efforts to end racism and her collaboration with the government.

In 1913 or 1914, Daisy Lee Gatson Bates was born in Huttig, Arkansas. She went to the segregated public schools in the city as a foster child. She lived in Little Rock after marrying LC Bates in 1942. Her husband founded the Arkansas State Press, a publication that emphasized the need to better a lot of African Americans. As a result, a lot of companies stopped running their ads.

She was an active member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), as was her husband. During the pre-trial phase of the federal court case Aaron v. Cooper in 1956, Bates’ prominence as a civil rights activist peaked, paving the way for Little Rock Central High School’s desegregation in 1957.

Bates organized a demonstration against the slow plan for racial integration in Little Rock schools. On September 25, 1957, African American students enrolled in Little Rock Central High School were personally guided and advised by her. To enforce integration, National Guard units and approximately 1000 paratroopers were present. She spent her entire life actively participating in civil rights initiatives. On November 4, 1999, Bates died at the Baptist Medical Center in Little Rock from a heart attack.

February 19, 2001, was designated as her birthday by the state. Daisy Gatson Bates Day will now fall on the same Monday in February as President’s Day, which is also recognized as Washington’s Birthday.

What is Daisy Gatson Bates Day?

Daisy Gatson Bates Day honors the extraordinary and impactful life of the Arkansas-born journalist and civil rights fighter Daisy Gatson Bates. Bates was a significant person who, in her day-to-day work, stood up for the rights and lives of African Americans. Her pivotal role in the 1957 Little Rock Integration Crisis has earned her the most famous.

Daisy Gatson Bates Day is an ideal occasion to teach your children about the history of the civil rights movement and the Little Rock Crisis. You can teach your students on the importance of journalism advocacy and raising your voice in opposition to injustice.

When is Daisy Gatson Bates Day 2024?

Every year on the third Monday in February, people celebrate Daisy Gatson Bates Day. The date of Daisy Gatson Bates Day in 2024 is Monday, February 19.

Daisy Gatson Bates Day History

Respected members of the African American community in Arkansas, Daisy Gatson Bates and her husband Lucius Bates established the “Arkansas State Press” newspaper in 1941. Being a voice for civil rights and providing advocacy journalism were the main goals of their publication. They advocated for Black Americans’ freedom, integration, and social justice.

After the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case, segregated education was declared unlawful and unconstitutional; however, many states, including Arkansas, did not compel racial integration in schools. Events held in integrated public schools, particularly those sponsored by the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), gained significant support from the Arkansas State Press.

It was decided in 1957 to admit nine Black students to Little Rock Central High School, an all-white school, to challenge Arkansas’s refusal to follow the desegregation decree issued by the Supreme Court. Bates assisted the nine children in their enrolment as the head of the Arkansas NAACP branch. The students gained notoriety as the “Little Rock Nine.”

The “Little Rock Nine” encountered harsh and unheard-of opposition when they tried to enroll in the school. Orval Faubus, the governor of Arkansas, sent the National Guard to stop Black students from enrolling because he opposed them going to the school. During this time, Daisy Gatson Bates played a crucial role. She used her house as a mentor, organizing, and planning a way for the students to get into the school.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower eventually stepped in and sent American Army soldiers to escort the children to school. Despite not having a student enrolled, Bates joined the parent-teacher organization at the school to make sure the group’s enrollment was successful. The Little Rock Nine were supposed to be dropped off and picked up at Bates’ house every day before and after school. Regretfully, proponents of segregation brought violence and danger to her home.

Despite these initiatives, Little Rock’s public schools were closed for the 1958–1959 academic year to stop desegregation. In Arkansas, this period was referred to as “The Lost Year.”

Because of Bates’ involvement in the Little Rock Crisis, the Arkansas State Press lost a lot of money in advertising and was forced to close in 1959.

Little Rock established the Daisy Bates Elementary School in 2000 as a way to honor Bates’ life and her contributions to civil rights. In honor of her services to Arkansas, a ceremony was held, and the third Monday of February was declared as “George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day,” an official state holiday.

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