Nightly News   |  February 05, 2010

theGrio.com 100: Spirit Trickey

Making a Difference: In her role as a Little Rock park ranger, Spirit Trickey, the daughter of one of the Little Rock Nine, teaches a personal, pivotal chapter in American history. NBC's Mara Schiavocampo reports.

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>>> prevacid?24hr.

>>> since we usually feature people who are making a difference here on friday nights, tonight we'll conclude our week-long look at members of the list of 100 current history makers as compiled by our partner website the grio.com as we mark black history month. tonight a park ranger who is parked in a special place that holds her own family history .

>> reporter: on any given day in little rock , arkansas --

>> she was alone in the mob.

>> reporter: spirit tricky could very well be the park ranger who leads the tour of this historic site .

>> the arkansas national guardsmen lined up and down this block.

>> reporter: she tells the story of nine black teenagers who de desegregated central high school .

>> soldiers surround them like a shield and they marched down that sidewalk and up these stairs.

>> reporter: ask her a question and if she doesn't know the answer, there is one more person she can ask, her mother. mini jean brown -tricky, one of the little rock nine. they moved back to little rock eight years ago after a lifetime away from the deeply-segregated south in 1957 . spirit, one of five children was almost 16 before she began to understand her mother's role in history.

>> i didn't really want them to know that the world was that ugly.

>> reporter: now spirit is the keeper of family history , helping her mother heal from an era filled with racial hatred.

>> think about at home where they had no soldiers.

>> reporter: reminding her mother of the girl she was.

>> she came out and said this once. she said it was like clutching a chain link fence , looking at a world i was not allowed to participate in. i wanted a chance to see what i was missing.

>> reporter: spirit wrote a play called "one night" told through the eyes of the bubbly 15-year-old mini jean.

>> between the play itself, the dialogue and the actor, i got it. wow, i know why they hated me because i was so irrepressible.

>> reporter: the play won a local competition and toured throughout the state.

>> she is very committed to reaching young people and planting those seeds at an early age.

>> reporter: spirit is finishing a graduate degree in public service , but knows no better lesson than little rock .

>> it's not just my history, black and white history, it's all of our history.

>> reporter: one story, one job that may never leave her. do you want to be that brave white kid who did something so simple as move your desk over and share your book?

>> reporter: and honored to keep its lessons alive.

>>> that's our broadcast for this