Speech of Governor Orval E. Faubus, September 18, 1958 

Question to Consider:
What solution does Faubus provide for the current situation?

Those who would integrate our schools at any price are still among us.  They have seized upon the present situation to promote and foment concern and discontent, because of the temporary closing of the schools.  They have spread wild rumors and attempted to organize demonstrations.  These are the same people and the same forces who have all along been opposed to the majority will of the people of Little Rock and Arkansas…. 

Last year, I stated during the September crisis that I was not elected Governor of 
Arkansas to surrender all our rights as citizens to an all-powerful federal autocracy…. It is my responsibility, and it is my purpose and determination, to defend the constitutional rights of the people of Arkansas to the full extent of my ability.… 

I am fully aware of the deep concern of the parents for the continued proper education of their children, and I am fully aware of the inconvenience to the students in the interruption of the proper educational processes.  To them, both parents and students, I express my sympathy and understanding. To the students who are concerned, I say that in the years to follow, when you have come to realize the importance of maintaining our form of government, and the importance of preserving the great freedoms and privileges which we have known, you will be happy and proud to remember that you suffered inconvenience and personal sacrifice, and thereby made a 
worthwhile contribution to the maintenance of our dual system of government…. In this dual system of government, with its checks and balances, lies the strength of the United States of America…. 
To you people in this struggle who seek to preserve our form of government, I am proud of my role as a leader in the fight.  I did not seek this role.  It was thrust upon me in the course of events.  I did not, nor do I now, shrink from my responsibilities in what is perhaps the greatest struggle for constitutional government during this century. To you who oppose the great majority of Arkansas people in this fight, I urge you to 
think—lest in your consuming desire to gain your ends, among them the destruction of Orval Faubus, you destroy also the very principles of government that enable you and all others to live as a free people, and to rear your children under the high standards of living and freedom which prevail in this state and nation. It was with a heavy heart that I found it necessary to sign the bills of the Extraordinary Session of the General Assembly and to close the High Schools in the City of Little Rock.  I took this action only after the last hope of relief from an intolerable situation had been exhausted.

The Supreme Court shut its eyes to all the facts, and in essence said—integration at any price, even if it means the destruction of our school system, our educational processes, and the risk of disorder and violence that could result in the loss of life—perhaps yours. This price, you as a people are unwilling to pay.  This price I could not see you pay without first offering to you a legal plan whereby a catastrophe can be avoided, and still provide the opportunity of an education of our children.  This plan I now explain to you in detail.  This plan is within the law.  Even the Supreme Court, in the so-called school integration cases, has not ruled to the contrary.  This plan is based upon our own State Constitution, written and adopted in 1874, and Arkansas Statutes enacted in 1875.

First.  The federal government has no authority to require any state to operate public schools.

Second.  The federal government has no authority to tell a state government for what purposes it may levy taxes, or how the tax money may be expended.

Third.  In all the cases involving the public schools and integration, the federal courts have said only that an agency of the state cannot maintain segregated schools.

Why, then, should we even attempt to keep these schools open as public schools when, based upon this sworn testimony, they clearly do not meet our constitutional provisions for a suitable and efficient system of education?  We have a perfect right to close these schools as public institutions, and once closed and found to be not needed for public purposes, the school board has the right and the authority under a law that has been on our statute books for 83 years, to lease these buildings and facilities to a bona fide private agency…. [convert the high schools to private segregated schools]
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