Dominican’s Melba Beals Honored for Civil Rights Role

Melba Beals, chair of Dominican’s Department of Communications, was among the nine African-American teenagers who 50 years ago advanced the civil rights movement with the integration of Little Rock Central High School.

The United States Mint this week introduced the Little Rock Central High School Desegregation 50th Anniversary Silver Dollar to commemorate the anniversary of the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School by the Little Rock Nine.

The heads side of the silver dollar depicts the feet of the students, escorted by a United States soldier, walking toward the school below a row of nine stars symbolizing the Little Rock Nine.

In the landmark 1954 decision of Brown v. Board of Education, the United States Supreme Court declared racial segregation in the public schools of the United States unconstitutional, culminating in the historic events at Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas in 1957.

Congress authorizes commemorative coins that celebrate and honor American people, places, events and institutions. Although these coins are legal tender, they are not minted for general circulation. Each commemorative coin is produced by the United States Mint in limited quantity and is available for a limited time.

Proceeds from the sale of the coin will go to benefit the Little Rock Central High Historic Center, the only National Park Service site that includes a fully functioning high school.

Beals will join her fellow members of the Little Rock Nine in Little Rock this September for anniversary events surrounding their first full day at the school, Sept. 25, 1957, including the dedication of a new visitor center.

Posted May 22, 2007