We drove down to Texas to get things from storage, like next year’s school books for us children. On the way down, we stopped at two different RV parks, a NPS site, and Buc-ee’s (a favorite roadtrip stop).
The two RV parks we stopped at were Tanbark (in Dickson, Tennessee) and Home Sweet Home (in Texarkana, Texas). Tanbark had very pretty trees in fall colors, and there was a horse that we looked at. The RV park we stopped to stay at near our storage was called Medina Lake RV Campground (a Thousand Trails RV Park), and it was near Medina Lake in Lakehills, Texas. There were lots of twisty trees and friendly deer which were used to being fed by humans, and it was hilly in that area.
The NPS site that we visited was Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site in Little Rock, Arkansas. We went there on October 21. Central High is where the U.S. began an experiment to start integrating black people into white schools. The ranger at the visitor center gave us a tour of the outside of the school.
In 1857, Central High allowed ten black students with perfect grades into the school (out of 200 students who had applied). A lot of white people were upset about it and showed up at the school to protest integration. In order to help the ten children more smoothly in their new school, Daisy Bates (also black) was chosen to help them. The night before the ten were supposed to go to school, Daisy called all of their families with a plan, except for Elizabeth Eckford, since she had no phone. The plan was to escort the children to school, along with both black and white ministers in hopes that the mob would be less likely to attack anyone. Daisy planned to get Elizabeth early the next morning.
But Dasiy Bates forgot. So Elizabeth, only fifteen years old, showed up at school the next day on September 4, 1957, unprepared for what she faced. The governor of Arkansas, Orval Faubus, called the National Guard to block all African American children from entering the school, which directly defied federal law. They did their duty, and Elizabeth, very confused, walked away from the school with a mob following her. They called her mean things, spit on her, and threatened to kill her. Eventually, with the encouragement of a few nice people and a bus, she was able to get away. However, that day greatly affected her, and she suffers from mental health issues because of it.
Meanwhile, the other nine children went to school as planned. However, at the door, they were turned away. For the first time in their lives, these children had missed a day of school.
On September 25, 1957, President Eisenhower sends the 101st Airborne Infantry Division to escort nine out of the previous ten students into the school. These nine are known as the Little Rock Nine.
On October 1, the National Guard, which had previously been ordered to block blacks from entering the school, took over the 101st Airborne’s duty. They were sent to keep watch over and escort the Nine to the school. However, the National Guard was able to be in basically only the school’s halls, so the students who didn’t like integration harassed and even tried to kill the Nine. Eventually, the National Guard were removed from the school. The Little Rock Nine went through the school year bravely.
Rather than repeat the previous year, Orval Faubus got Arkansas’ schools shut down, since he didn’t like integration. This caused the state’s economy to be affected negatively.
Down in San Antonio, we saw our friends, the Paynes at both their house and the campground we were staying at. We did a lot of things with them, including playing basketball and card games, visiting parks, and reading the Bible and singing with them.
On November 4, we moved to Hot Springs RV Park in Arkansas, right near Hot Springs National Park. On the way there, we stopped in Hope, Arkansas to go to President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home National Historic Site. We weren’t able to go inside the home, due to COVID, but we were able to read signs about Bill Clinton’s childhood and family in the visitor center.
Afterwards, we drove on to Hot Springs, Arkansas.
When we had set up our RV at the RV park we went to look around the national park.
First, we went to Bathhouse Row, which is a street with bathhouses built in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s which use water from the hot springs. Fountains with hot spring water were scattered throughout the area, and we tried the water. To me, it tasted like normal but hot water. There was no sulfuric scent to it, like there had been at other hot springs we’d seen in the past.
We also went on a short walk and a scenic drive, where we could see the city and beautiful fall colors
The next day, we moved to Cross City RV Park in Corinth, Mississippi. On the way, we stopped at Mississippi Final Stands Interpretive Center in Baldwyn, Mississippi, where we read about Civil War battles.
On November 6, while on the way to a Cracker Barrel in Florence, Kentucky, we stopped at Shiloh National Military Park. We had visited there a year ago, looked around the park, and done junior ranger books, but we hadn’t been able to turn our completed books in due to COVID. This time, we turned our books in and got badges in return.
On November 7, we drove up to Zanesville, Ohio to National Road Campground.