What Happened Here

Twenty years ago, in 1997, President Clinton returned to his home state of Arkansas to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the desegregation of Little Rock's Central High School. These speech remarks reflected on the events of September 1957, President Clinton's recollection of these events as a child living in Arkansas, and the promise of a colorblind society achieved through reconciliation.

Little Rock Central High School Speech Preparation

Photo of President Clinton working on his speech in the holding room at Little Rock Central High for the 40th Anniversary of the Desegregation of Central High.

Speech Preparation

The staff and office files of Michael Waldman and June Shih contain the drafts from this commemoration. Like any other speech, President Clinton’s remarks went through several revisions during and after meetings with his speechwriting staff. Here you can see the evolution of the speech through various drafts and annotations, including comments in the President’s handwriting.

Delivered Remarks

40th Anniv. of Desegregation of Little Rock Central High (1997)