CIVIL RIGHTS PHOTO: Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones, was one of the bullies trying to stop his Black classmates from desegregating Central High in Little Rock in 1957 in throwback picture KossyDerrickBlog KossyDerrickEnt

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Wednesday, November 23, 2022

CIVIL RIGHTS PHOTO: Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones, was one of the bullies trying to stop his Black classmates from desegregating Central High in Little Rock in 1957 in throwback picture

Wow, so Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was one of the bullies trying to stop his Black classmates from desegregating Central High in Little Rock in 1957.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was one of the bullies trying to stop his Black classmates from desegregating Central High in Little Rock in 1957.

The 80-year-old billionaire said he looked 'like a little burrhead' in the photo, which was taken amid a wave of civil rights clashes in the Little Rock area. More famously, President Dwight D. Eisenhower dispatched federal troops to Little Rock's Central High in September of 1957 to escort black students to class as they were harassed and spit at by racist, vitriolic protestors. A 14-year-old Jerry Jones appears in a recently unearthed photograph from 1957 that shows a group of white students at Arkansas' North Little Rock High blocking six African-American teenagers from entering and integrating the school.

The confrontation occurred 65 years ago, on Sept. 9, 1957, during the same month that a higher-profile integration effort was taking place at Little Rock Central High in the capital city a few miles away. The story of the Little Rock Nine, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower dispatched federal troops to escort the trailblazing Black students past the spitting hordes, is regarded as a pivotal moment in the civil rights movement. It overshadowed the ugly events unfolding contemporaneously at Jones’s high school on the other side of the Arkansas River — an episode mostly lost to history, though not entirely.

But Straeter’s photographs indicate Jones had to scurry around the North Little Rock Six to reach the top of the stairs before the Black students completed their walk up to the schoolhouse door. And while Jones offered a common explanation of the confrontation — that it was the work of older white supremacists — most of those surrounding the six young Black men were teenagers.

Jerry Jones is now 80 years old, and his face is among the most recognizable in the country. The boy from North Little Rock owns the Dallas Cowboys. “The Cowboys are America,” Jones said when he bought the team in 1989, and there is no denying that they are the most popular and lucrative sports franchise in the country, surpassing the New York Yankees. Nothing on television draws higher ratings than NFL games, and no team draws more viewers than the Cowboys.

With a soft Arkansas drawl that delivers every word as a sweet and succulent morsel, Jones is the singular star of Texas-size glitz. It is no accident that his football palace is popularly known as “Jerry World.” He is an all-hands-on owner who serves as his own general manager and appears in the locker room amid a press swarm after games. But he is more than that. The status of his team and his personality — an irrepressible showman with a self-image as large as his $11-plus billion net worth — have made him arguably the most influential figure in the NFL. He’s sometimes referred to as a shadow commissioner more powerful than Roger Goodell, who holds that title. He has not been shy about exerting his clout as a financial and cultural virtuoso working to shape the league more in his image.

The photograph, taken by William P. Straeter of the Associated Press, shows a young Jones wearing a striped shirt, craning for a better view, “looking like a little burrhead,” as he said in a recent interview with The Washington Post, acknowledging his presence on the steps that day. He was one month from turning 15. He had been bulking up by lifting weights and going through two-a-days since August, trying to make the school’s football B-team. The head coach, Jim Albright, had warned there might be trouble and said he “didn’t want to see any of you knot-heads near the front of that school tomorrow.”

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