Little Rock Nine member Jefferson Thomas dies

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Little Rock Nine member Jefferson Thomas has died at age 68 in Columbus, Ohio.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Little Rock Nine member Jefferson Thomas has died at age 68 in Columbus, Ohio.

Fellow Little Rock Nine member Minnijean Trickey Brown confirmed to The Associated Press that Thomas died Sunday. Another member of the group, Carlotta Walls LaNier, said Thomas died from pancreatikc cancer.

In 1957 Thomas joined Brown, Elizabeth Eckford, LaNier, Gloria Ray Karlmark, Thelma Mothershed Wair, Terrence Roberts, Melba Patillo Beals and Ernest Green in becoming the first black students to attend Little Rock Central High School.

President Dwight Eisenhower dispatched the 101st Airborne to Little Rock after Gov. Orval Faubus used the Arkansas National Guard in an effort to prevent the nine from attending the school.

Thomas served in the Army in Vietnam and later became an accounting clerk with the Department of Defense.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

Photo Caption: In a Sept. 24, 1997 file photo, Jefferson Thomas, one of the nine students that integrated Central High School in 1957 in Little Rock, Ark. listens during a news conference in Little Rock, Ark. Thomas died Sept. 5 in Columbus, Ohio, said fellow Little Rock Nine member Minnijean Trickey Brown. He was 68. (AP Photo/James A. Finley, File)

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