Ken Reinhardt and Elizabeth Eckford are two people who make a difference in the world and are a part of our Sendler family.
Ken Reinhardt was a senior at Little Rock Central High School in 1957 when President Eisenhower sent in the 101st Airborne from Ft Campbell, Ky, to insure the enrollment of nine black teenagers. The all white school of 2,000 students contained a core group of segregationists and their parents who harrassed and terrorized the LR9 all year.
Ken’s friendship of the nine, particularly with Elizabeth Eckford, resulted in similar but less severe harassment for Ken and his family. A career banker, now retired and living in South Carolina, Ken was never asked about this experience until 1996 when three Uniontown High School students discovered his role as part of a National History Day project. They reunited Ken with Elizabeth Eckford at National History Day in Maryland.
Covered by the national news media, Ken and Elizabeth have been asked to speak together in several states. Ken and his wife, Judy, remain in close contact with Elizabeth to this day. Ken and Elizabeth recently spoke in Kansas City, with Ann Williams, a second white student mentioned by the LR9, as having befriended them. Ken and Ann are a focal point of a new exhibit at the Lowell Milken Center in Fort Scott, Kansas.