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Restoration underway on childhood home of Little Rock 9's Ernest Green

A group of 14 students is working to replace the windows of Ernest Green's childhood home in Little Rock.
Josie Lenora
A group of 14 students work to replace a window of Ernest Green's childhood home in Little Rock.

A house that Ernest Green lived in when he was one of the nine Black students who desegregated Little Rock's Central High School in 1957 is being restored. He would become the first of the Little Rock Nine to graduate from the school the following year.

The house at 1224 W. 21st Street was sometimes used as a meeting place for the nine before starting their day at Central. The two-bedroom home with an attic and 10-foot-high ceilings was built in 1916 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Green's nephew, Scott Green, will live the house when renovations are completed.

“I want it to be inspiring,” he said.

Several generations of Green's family lived in the house, which Scott Green says was important to him throughout his childhood.

Windows are being replaced in this phase of the project and eventually, a new ceiling and walls will be added. Two-by-four's currently show the framework where they will be placed.

“There are a lot of steps to just replacing a plate of glass,” Green said. “I hope I remember at least a third of this because there is so much going on. It's a lot to take in.”

Green says his uncle hasn't yet seen the restoration work that is getting underway. Ernest Green and seven of the surviving members of the Little Rock Nine took part in events last month marking the 65th anniversary of the schools desegregation.

Scott Green describes Ernest Green as a “very considerate and thoughtful person.”

A group of 14 students worked to renovate the windows all day on Thursday.
Josie Lenora
The home at 1224 W. 21st Street in Little Rock was lived in by several generations of Ernest Green's family.

On Thursday, a three-day “boot camp” began with 14 people learning how to restore the home's many windows. Historical preservationist Bob Yapp is leading the training and showed the others how to apply putting to the windows.

“For me, this is a breeze,” Yapp said. “But it’s a challenge for any normal homeowner that isn't a complete geek like me. We’ll have all-new drywall and insulation and a neat little kitchen. It will be a great little house.”

Yapp has previously worked on 164 other houses and is overseeing the restoration. This phase of the project will wrap up on Saturday.

The restoration project is being funded by a grant from The City of Little Rock and Quapaw Quarter Association.

Josie Lenora is the Politics/Government Reporter for Little Rock Public Radio.