The Little Rock Nine and the Tuskegee Airmen, historic figures in the struggle for racial equality, will be among the invited guests when Barack Obama is inaugurated as the first black president. Or first president of mixed heritage. See Mara Leveritt’s cover story.

Invitations came from the Joint Congressional Committee overseeing the event and the suggestion of the Nine’s inclusion came from Sen. Mark Pryor.


But not all the invitees will be able to attend. Little Rock Nine member Elizabeth Eckford, 67, who still lives in the house where she grew up, said she can’t afford the trip.

“I never thought I’d see it, because racism is so much a part of America,” she said. “That will continue to live as long as racism is taught at home.”


Surely Eckford’s absence can be rectified. She’s pictured above in the iconic Will Counts photograph.

Minnijean Brown-Trickey also is quoted:


Brown-Trickey said that in the past she “never had any interest in any inauguration, ever. It didn’t seem as if it had anything to do with me.” But Obama’s election is “very powerful stuff,” she said. “We’ve got a black woman who’s going to be first lady. . . . It’s fabulous.”

UPDATE: Lots are interested in helping Elizabeth Eckford attend, as I am. I intend to find out Monday about her ability and desire to attend. I’ll provide an update.