The Little Rock Friendship: The fairy tale story that had a bad ending





During the historic 1957 desegregation of Little Rock Central High School, 26-year-old journalist Will Counts took a photograph that gave an iconic face to the passions at the center of the civil-rights movement—two faces, actually: those of 15-year-old Elizabeth Eckford on her first day of school, and her most recognizable tormentor, Hazel Bryan. The story of how these two women struggled to reconcile and move on from the event is a remarkable journey through the last half-century of race relations in America....

Study any great photograph, and you will always find more things to see, and learn. For instance, there are the bystanders—out of focus, perhaps, but clear enough to reveal their indifference to or pleasure in another person's pain. But the picture belongs to Elizabeth and Hazel, and for them it set off a drama that has never really ended. Bound together in fame and misfortune, they have tried, separately and together, to escape the frame. After a brief and well-photographed pseudo-reconciliation 10 years ago, the two are once more incommunicado, living only a few miles, and a cultural chasm, apart. While Elizabeth has spent the past decade coming out of a shell, Hazel has spent it going in.

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