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Daisy Lee Gatson Bates, better known as Daisy Bates, was an American civil rights activist who was a key advocate of the integration of the “Little Rock Nine” in Arkansas. She was also a journalist and newspaper publisher.
See the fact file below for more information on the Daisy Bates or alternatively, you can download our 24-page Daisy Bates worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
Early Life and Education
- Daisy Bates was born on November 11, 1914 in Huttig, Union County, Arkansas.
- Her biological parents were Hezakiah Gatson and Millie Riley.
- When she was three years old, her mother was sexually assaulted then murdered by three white men.
- Upon the murder of her mother, her father left and she never saw him again.
- Daisy was adopted by Orlee and Susie Smith.
- What happened to her mother left a mark on Daisy, both mentally and emotionally.
- It led her to live a life pursuing justice and championing racial equality.
- Daisy attended segregated public schools in Huttig, where she gained firsthand experience on the poor facilities and learning conditions experienced by black students.
Arkansas State Press
- She married Lucious Christopher Bates who was also a journalist and an insurance agent.
- In 1941, they put up the Arkansas State Press, a weekly African-American newspaper that championed civil rights.
- As they operated the publishing of the paper, Bates also joined the Civil Rights movement.
- In 1952, Daisy Bates was elected president of the Arkansas branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
- As NAACP President, Bates was at the forefront in confronting racism and fighting against racial segregation in public schools.
- Racial segregation separated the schools of the whites (Americans) from the blacks (African-Americans).
- School facilities were also differentiated.
- In 1954, racial segregation was ruled unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court in the lawsuit Brown v. Board of Education.
- Despite that federal ruling, black students were still denied entry in “white schools” in Arkansas.
- Daisy and Christopher Bates documented this battle in the Arkansas State Press.
- They chronicled the violations of the US Supreme Court’s ruling in Arkansas public schools.
Little Rock Nine
- In 1957, she became the primary agent of helping nine black kids enrol in Little Rock Central High School.
- She personally guided the kids who became known as the Little Rock Nine.
- Governor Oral Faubus was strongly opposed to school integration and called out the National Guard to prevent the Little Rock Nine from entering.
- They faced further opposition in the form of death threats, rallies, and acts of violence.
- White Americans gathered to threaten the students and harassed the activists and journalists covering the story.
- This battle carried on relentlessly against Daisy Bates and the Little Rock Nine.
- President Dwight D. Eisenhower intervened and ordered federal troops to escort the Little Nine Rock safely to school and to enforce the law upon the public schools.
- September 25, 1957, was their first day of school.
- Daisy Bates remained the students’ guide and supporter throughout their stay in the school, in which they continued to face opposition and discrimination.
- She wrote and published a book that documented their fight against segregation, which is entitled The Long Shadow of Little Rock.
More Activist Work
- The Arkansas State Press was forced to close in 1959 because of low revenue mainly caused by the involvement of the Bates in the Little Rock battle.
- Daisy’s involvement in the Little Rock battle was just the start of her contributions in seeking equality for the African-Americans in the South.
- Her continuous work and advocacy gained her national recognition.
- She then moved to Washington, D.C. to work for the Democratic National Committee.
- She also worked with the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s anti-poverty programs.
- In 1965, she suffered a stroke and went back to Little Rock.
- In 1968, she moved to Mitchellville, Arkansas and spent much of her time working for community revitalization projects such as programs for concrete streets, sewer systems, a working water system, and a community centre.
- After her husband died in 1980, she revived the Arkansas State Press in 1984.
- She oversaw the operations of the newspaper from 1984 to 1988 before selling it.
- She received an honorary degree from the University of Arkansas Fayetteville.
- In 1986, her book The Long Shadow of Little Rock was republished by the University of Arkansas Press.
- Her book earned an American Book Award.
Death and Legacy
- Bates died on November 4, 1999, in Little Rock, Arkansas.
- In honor of Bates, Little Rock opened the Daisy Bates Elementary School.
- Arkansas also proclaimed Daisy Gatson Bates Day an official state holiday on the third Monday in February.
- A documentary film Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock, directed and produced by Sharon La Cruise, was released in 2012.
Daisy Bates Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Daisy Bates across 24 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Daisy Bates worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Daisy Lee Gatson Bates, better known as Daisy Bates, who was an American civil rights activist who was a key advocate of the integration of the “Little Rock Nine” in Arkansas. She was also a journalist and newspaper publisher.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Daisy Bates Facts
- About Daisy
- One Word Answers
- State Press
- Photo Story
- Sort the Sequence
- Daisy Crossword
- Make It True
- What Would Daisy Do
- Fresh Off The Press
- Dear Daisy
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Link will appear as Daisy Bates Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, January 14, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
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