Copyright The Columbia University PressThe Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. The Columbia University Press
Orval Faubus (ôr´vəl fô´bəs), 1910–94, governor of Arkansas (1955–67), b. Combs, Ark. A schoolteacher, he served in World War II and after the war became Arkansas's state highway commissioner. Elected to the governorship after a runoff, Faubus initially pursued a liberal course in office but to combat his political opponents who were staunch segregationists, he adopted a hard-line civil-rights position. In 1957, Faubus gained national attention when he called out the Arkansas National Guard to prevent the integration of Central High School in Little Rock, but he was eventually forced to withdraw the Guard. After rioting broke out, President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent U.S. troops to Little Rock and put the National Guard under federal command in order to ensure the integration of the school. Faubus's political expediency resulted in his repeated reelection as governor but also prevented him from moving into the national political arena. In 1970, 1974, and 1986 he sought reelection as governor of Arkansas but was unsuccessful in each attempt at a political comeback, the last time losing to Bill Clinton.