What was the significance of the use of Federal marshals to protect African-American students in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957?
It meant that the federal government was using force to end segregation in schools
After the 1954 Brown versus Board of Education segregation was made illegal in schools. When president Eisenhower sent troops to Little Rock for the enforcing of desegregation it was just one sign that he was executing that decision. Apart from this decision the Eisenhower administration was very timid on desegrating and only the next two admisnistration would abolish segregation with the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the two Voting Rights(1965 and 1968).
The use of Federal Marshals showed that the Federal Government would use force to ensure compliance with the Supreme Court decision.
The Brown vs Board of Education Supreme court decision only applied to schools. Other forms segregation were still legal in many Southern states. The president only had the power to enforce federal laws.
The Use of Federal Force in Little Rock showed that the government was serious about enforcing the law. After Little Rock schools all over the south were desegregated without the use of federal force. This was significant because it ensured that African American students would have access to the same quality of education as their white peers.
President Eieshower did everything legally within his power to end segregation. He enforced Brown vs the Board of Education and he desegregated the armed forces under his command.