The 1957 crisis at the school was the first test of the federal government's authority to carry out the U.S. Supreme Court's 1954 desegregation decision and the first time since Reconstruction that federal troops were called out to protect African-Americans' civil rights. The visitor center, operated by the National Park Service, plans to exhibit artifacts, photographs and TV footage from the era and videotaped first-person accounts from the Little Rock Nine.
Central High, a sprawling 1927 Gothic and Art Deco building, is now a National Historic Site, but it remains a working school, with 53 percent African-American students. Tours are available during the school year. Go to nps.gov/chsc for information on commemorative events.
—by Jim Taylor
Washington, D.C.—Founded 200 years ago a mile and a half from the Capitol, Congressional Cemetery is the final resting place for war heroes, Native American chiefs, members of Congress and such notables as Mathew Brady, John Philip Sousa and J. Edgar Hoover. But the cemetery, which has more than 150 monuments designed by Capitol architect Benjamin Latrobe, had nearly succumbed to crime and neglect by the 1970s. Then it went to the dogs—fortunately. Neighborhood residents who'd been letting their pooches loose on the wooded 33-acre site along the Potomac River began restoring the grounds. Today, the Association for the Preservation of Historic Congressional Cemetery collects $80,000 annually from dog walkers for grounds upkeep; many dog owners also volunteer to do repairs and gardening. "When you come in the gates, you're immediately surrounded by history," says preservation advocate Patrick Crowley, who walked his Saint Bernard (now deceased) in the cemetery for ten years. "The heritage is overwhelming."
—by Emilie Karrick Surrusco