When Spirit Trickey-Rowan gives tours at the Little Rock Central High School Museum, her name is often a topic of conversation.
“Sometimes people look at my name tag and they’re like, ‘What is that?’” she laughs.
But her name isn’t just unique. It’s a part of history. Trickey-Rowan’s mother is Minnijean Brown-Trickey – one of the nine African-American teenagers who attended the all-white Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957. Called the Little Rock Nine, they helped shape the civil rights movement.
“It kind of unfolded over time, to see your mother in the ‘50s, and to learn [about] all the trauma they were put through,” says the now 30-year-old.
Born and raised in Canada, Trickey-Rowan moved to Little Rock when she was 22, and began working as an interpretive park ranger for the Central High School National Historic Site. In 2002, she wrote a play in college retelling the story of the Little Rock Nine from the perspective of her mother as a 15-year-old girl.
“From a historical context, you don’t get to [see] what it was like every day… father losing his job, bomb threats,” tells Trickey-Rowan.
The docudrama entitled, “One Ninth”, was later produced by the Arkansas Repertory Theater. The theater used it for its educational tour in 2009, putting on performances and workshops at schools all across the state. Trickey-Rowan says she’s now working to get the play published, so educators can use it as a tool in the classroom. In the meantime, she continues to advance her own education. In May, she will graduate with a Master’s degree from the Clinton School of Public Service.
“In whatever capacity, I’m going to do something that has to do with social justice. My mom said we’ll never run out of issues to tackle. Whether I’m here at the historic site or through artistic means like a play, [I want] to keep this history alive.” In turn, she leaves her own mark in history that will keep people talking about her name for years to come.