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Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock

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The names Elizabeth Eckford and Hazel Bryan Massery may not be well known, but the image of them from September 1957 surely is: a black high school girl, dressed in white, walking stoically in front of Little Rock Central High School, and a white girl standing directly behind her, face twisted in hate, screaming racial epithets. This famous photograph captures the full ang The names Elizabeth Eckford and Hazel Bryan Massery may not be well known, but the image of them from September 1957 surely is: a black high school girl, dressed in white, walking stoically in front of Little Rock Central High School, and a white girl standing directly behind her, face twisted in hate, screaming racial epithets. This famous photograph captures the full anguish of desegregation—in Little Rock and throughout the South—and an epic moment in the civil rights movement. In this gripping book, David Margolick tells the remarkable story of two separate lives unexpectedly braided together. He explores how the haunting picture of Elizabeth and Hazel came to be taken, its significance in the wider world, and why, for the next half-century, neither woman has ever escaped from its long shadow. He recounts Elizabeth’s struggle to overcome the trauma of her hate-filled school experience, and Hazel’s long efforts to atone for a fateful, horrible mistake. The book follows the painful journey of the two as they progress from apology to forgiveness to reconciliation and, amazingly, to friendship. This friendship foundered, then collapsed—perhaps inevitably—over the same fissures and misunderstandings that continue to permeate American race relations more than half a century after the unforgettable photograph at Little Rock. And yet, as Margolick explains, a bond between Elizabeth and Hazel, silent but complex, endures.


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The names Elizabeth Eckford and Hazel Bryan Massery may not be well known, but the image of them from September 1957 surely is: a black high school girl, dressed in white, walking stoically in front of Little Rock Central High School, and a white girl standing directly behind her, face twisted in hate, screaming racial epithets. This famous photograph captures the full ang The names Elizabeth Eckford and Hazel Bryan Massery may not be well known, but the image of them from September 1957 surely is: a black high school girl, dressed in white, walking stoically in front of Little Rock Central High School, and a white girl standing directly behind her, face twisted in hate, screaming racial epithets. This famous photograph captures the full anguish of desegregation—in Little Rock and throughout the South—and an epic moment in the civil rights movement. In this gripping book, David Margolick tells the remarkable story of two separate lives unexpectedly braided together. He explores how the haunting picture of Elizabeth and Hazel came to be taken, its significance in the wider world, and why, for the next half-century, neither woman has ever escaped from its long shadow. He recounts Elizabeth’s struggle to overcome the trauma of her hate-filled school experience, and Hazel’s long efforts to atone for a fateful, horrible mistake. The book follows the painful journey of the two as they progress from apology to forgiveness to reconciliation and, amazingly, to friendship. This friendship foundered, then collapsed—perhaps inevitably—over the same fissures and misunderstandings that continue to permeate American race relations more than half a century after the unforgettable photograph at Little Rock. And yet, as Margolick explains, a bond between Elizabeth and Hazel, silent but complex, endures.

30 review for Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    When I was preparing to leave North Dakota for the college town of Galesburg, Illinois, my dad mentioned to me that among my classmates at Knox College would be one of the Little Rock Nine. Sure enough, when I moved into my triple room on the third floor in Whiting Hall, I realized that across the hall and down about two rooms from mine lived Elizabeth Eckford, Liz to her classmates, and her roommate Marcie. Liz and I were in the same French 201 class taught by the fearsome Dr. Elna Jeffries, an When I was preparing to leave North Dakota for the college town of Galesburg, Illinois, my dad mentioned to me that among my classmates at Knox College would be one of the Little Rock Nine. Sure enough, when I moved into my triple room on the third floor in Whiting Hall, I realized that across the hall and down about two rooms from mine lived Elizabeth Eckford, Liz to her classmates, and her roommate Marcie. Liz and I were in the same French 201 class taught by the fearsome Dr. Elna Jeffries, and it soon became clear that my Fargo French was on a par with her Little Rock French. We commiserated over the fact that we couldn't understand what Dr. Jeffries was saying (either Dr. J's accent didn't match what I'd been taught, or she talked faster than my ears could listen), and before tests we'd cram together. Out of shyness, or wanting to respect her privacy, or being totally clueless, probably the latter, I never asked her about her Little Rock experience. Second semester we weren't in the same class, and we took to greeting one another in the large shared hall bathroom with its multiple sinks, showers and stalls before rushing off to our different schedules. The following year, Liz didn't come back to Knox, and neither did Marcie. No one I knew had any information, and we assumed they'd transferred to other schools. Years passed: I saw her picture in history books. Recently, I read about her in the Post when despite being invited she didn't come to Obama's inauguration. Now I've had the opportunity to learn what Liz endured in 1957, the cruelty, the loneliness, and what she continues to endure, and I am overwhelmed and awed by her courage. This book opened my eyes to details I almost wish I didn't know about that awful year Liz spent as one of nine African American students at Central High School in Little Rock. Years ago I met Ernest Green, the eldest of the Little Rock Nine, when he visited my former school/workplace as the guest of an American history teacher. As the book explains, his experience was different from Liz's, and he has always framed that experience and the following years in a positive light. Ernest's positive life experience has not been shared by Liz Eckford. My heart has been wrenched in reading of the years since the famous picture of Liz was taken, of the ups and downs she has experienced, of her ability to attempt a friendship with Hazel, the white girl caught in the famous photograph with Liz. As much as I am impressed by Liz's courage, so too am I impressed the ability to change, to grow, to confront her past shown by Hazel, the 15 year old racist who has spent her life making amends for her ugly behavior on that fateful September day. Margolick does a good job presenting the views of both women. Especially interesting, too, is Margolick's explanation of how a news story describing the Louis Armstrong's angry outburst when he was asked about Little Rock possibly led Eisenhower to send in the Guard to force the integration of Central High School. If you are old enough to remember 1957, you should read this book. If you are younger, be grateful that you've grown up in a different culture than that of Little Rock in that long ago time. On a personal note, I was astounded to read that the author, Margolick, learned from Liz that during her year living in Whiting Hall, she sometimes stayed out all night, sleeping in the ladies room at the train station. Wow! Mother Meeks, our house mother, had me firmly under her thumb! "Gracious girls make gracious women," was her signature phrase, but she could be extremely forceful (ungracious?) when disciplining girls who dared ring the dorm bell for late admission. I never dared even think about being late for closing time. (You youngsters can roll your eyes at what life in the dark ages must've been like.) I guess a young woman who could integrate a hostile high school wouldn't be deterred by the likes of Mother Meeks. Before Knox had a chance to make a gracious woman of her, Liz had made her own mark on history.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cafelilybookreviews

    Elizabeth Ann Eckford walked to school alone the morning of September 4, 1957, due to miscommunication. Her family did not have a telephone so when the plans were changed for the location of the "Little Rock Nine" to meet up, Elizabeth wasn't notified. That one miscommunication forever changed history as she walked to school and had to pass through an angry, taunting crowd shouting racial slurs and obscenities. Humiliated and scared, she was denied entrance to the school so Elizabeth had to endu Elizabeth Ann Eckford walked to school alone the morning of September 4, 1957, due to miscommunication. Her family did not have a telephone so when the plans were changed for the location of the "Little Rock Nine" to meet up, Elizabeth wasn't notified. That one miscommunication forever changed history as she walked to school and had to pass through an angry, taunting crowd shouting racial slurs and obscenities. Humiliated and scared, she was denied entrance to the school so Elizabeth had to endure more taunts and heckling as she made her way back through the angry hate-filled crowd to the bus stop and eventually to her mother's workplace. With cries of "lynch her" and "drag her over to this tree" ringing in her ears, fifteen year old Elizabeth Eckford took a serious verbal, mental and emotional beating that day. A sheep among wolves, Elizabeth's perception of life would forever be altered by this and the experiences to come at Little Rock Central High School. This book also tells the story of Hazel Bryan, the fifteen year old white girl in the photo, caught screaming at Elizabeth. In the years following this photo, Hazel would eventually realize the implications of her actions and call Elizabeth to apologize. As I read about this iconic photo and how it came to be, my heart broke. As a parent, I'm not sure I could have withstood what Elizabeth's parents watched her go through as they attempted to be part of history and desegregate the school. I don't know that I could have offered up my child as an innocent lamb the way her parents did, even though it was supposedly for the betterment of her future. They trusted those in authority who reassured them this would be for the good of everyone involved. However, Elizabeth and the other members of the Little Rock Nine endured abuse, taunts and injustice not only on September 4th but in the days to come. Though the initial reports from inside the school were upbeat once the Little Rock Nine were enrolled and attending, over time, details would surface of what really happened inside the school. Assigned "protection" inside the school under the same National Guardsmen who had previously prevented them from entering, these students endured harassment that included being hit with rocks, body slamming, broken glass and scaldings in the locker room showers. This was a very disturbing read because it is such an honest and accurate portrayal of a very shameful part of our history. David Margolick writes it exactly as it happened, without sugar coating or glossing over the details, to soften the blow. I can't say that I enjoyed reading this story as it is heartbreaking, but as a history buff, it helped me understand a major turning point in our culture. *More conservative readers should be aware that there are some graphic descriptions and language in this book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jean louise Finch

    This story broke my heart. It goes beyond that hateful picture and describes human emotion, hate, forgiveness and redemption. Beyond this there are SPOILERS so please read at your own discretion: Elizabeth is the shy young girl who signed up to be one of the nine who integrated Central High in the 50s. You learn that the story did not end with integration. That Elizabeth suffered greatly for her sacrifice, years of undiagnosed post traumatic stress disorder that left her unable to lead a successf This story broke my heart. It goes beyond that hateful picture and describes human emotion, hate, forgiveness and redemption. Beyond this there are SPOILERS so please read at your own discretion: Elizabeth is the shy young girl who signed up to be one of the nine who integrated Central High in the 50s. You learn that the story did not end with integration. That Elizabeth suffered greatly for her sacrifice, years of undiagnosed post traumatic stress disorder that left her unable to lead a successful life and bitter. Hazel is the young girl who stood behind Elizabeth on that fateful morning, her mouth crooked with hate. We learn that Hazel did this for attention, always the actress, she enjoyed the limelight she received on that day but did not consider the consequences until 20 years later when she picked up the phone to dial the Eckford house and apologize for her behavior. They become friends but are then torn apart by mistrust, resentment, miscommunication and anger. One can only hope that the author sent them both a copy of this memoir so that they can move beyond their resentment. These two women are a perfect symbol of race relations in 2011, miscommunication, the unwillingness to understand, hear or to be heard and the bitter anger of both sides. This is not a feel good story, it left me feeling quite empty and hopeless. As a book, this was well written, but the ending felt a bit rushed, as if the writer grew tired of being in the middle of Elizabeth and Hazel's dysfunctional relationship and just wanted his involvement to end. I found the story of Elizabeth incredibly disheartening, we want to believe that our heroes will always be heroes and that the story ends with their brave act. What Ms. Eckford did as a teenager was amazing, but then she was forgotten and made to live alone with her demons. She gave us so much and in return we gave her nothing. Side note: there is a great documentary on DVD (Netflix has it streaming I think) about Central 50 years later that will really put this all into perspective. In addition, I suggest reading Jonathan Kozel's "Educational Apartheid" if this subject interests you. Two other of the Little Rock Nine wrote memoirs: Warriors Don't Cry which is more geared towards preteens and a bit fluffy-by Melba Beals and Carlotta Walls wrote a more adult memoir, both apparently were scorned by Eckford who felt that Beals was looking for fame.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    Okay, I don't know how to do the picture thing and am resistant to learning it, but you guys still know how to click on a link, right? I'm addicted to Life magazine-type great-images-of-the-twentieth-century kind of things, and this is probably the famous historical photograph that has moved me the most. When I was in high school, I xeroxed the page of my history textbook that it was printed on and hung this picture on my wall. To me, it just expressed everything about how thoroughly shitty and h Okay, I don't know how to do the picture thing and am resistant to learning it, but you guys still know how to click on a link, right? I'm addicted to Life magazine-type great-images-of-the-twentieth-century kind of things, and this is probably the famous historical photograph that has moved me the most. When I was in high school, I xeroxed the page of my history textbook that it was printed on and hung this picture on my wall. To me, it just expressed everything about how thoroughly shitty and horrible human beings mostly are, and also how brave certain individuals are able to be in spite of that. It's the most simultaneously demoralizing/horrific and inspirational/uplifting picture I've ever seen: all these furious racists screaming slurs, threatening to lynch this schoolgirl who's walking into Central High all by herself in her lovely fifties dress and neat sunglasses, looking so poised and cool and -- particularly impressive to me as a high school student -- stylish. As an adult looking back, now Eckford doesn't seem nearly as impassive as I'd remembered (I think that's partly because the picture in my history textbook was actually this one, where she looks a bit more like she's successfully tuning them out). She looks to me less like an awesome warrior and more like a young, frightened girl in an unthinkable situation; but that makes her experience that much more moving and impressive. I'm almost twenty years older than she was on that day, and I've never done anything even a fraction as brave as that, nor can I imagine myself rising to such a terrifying occasion. I always though the screaming white woman behind Eckford was an adult, and didn't realize that she was also fifteen. I just read the review of this book in the New York Review of Books, and am very interested in finding out what happened to Eckford and about the troubled relationship that developed between the two women later on in their lives. The whole thing sounds, like American history itself, both fascinating and incredibly depressing.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cynda

    4 stars. 1 star taken by lack of historical background. This book is published by Yale University Press, so I want to find date lists, such as the various civil rights acts, starting with the Civil Rights Act of 1871 which prohibited ethnic violence against African-Americans, known as the Ku Klux Klan Act thru the Civil Rights Act of 1991 which addresses employees' discrimination claims. Also I would have liked to have seen other dates listed, such as the court case Brown v Board of Education, th 4 stars. 1 star taken by lack of historical background. This book is published by Yale University Press, so I want to find date lists, such as the various civil rights acts, starting with the Civil Rights Act of 1871 which prohibited ethnic violence against African-Americans, known as the Ku Klux Klan Act thru the Civil Rights Act of 1991 which addresses employees' discrimination claims. Also I would have liked to have seen other dates listed, such as the court case Brown v Board of Education, the court case decision that allowed black children access to the same exact education, doing away with separate-but-equal clauses nationwide. This court ruling is the reason why Elizabeth was attempting to enter the high school in Little Rock, Arkansas. ...Otherwise...(view spoiler)[Excellent handling of two people at odds with each other. The easiest way of ending this book would be the writing of a sustained friendship that has its bumps as many friendships do, this situation was not available to David Margolock. And he worked hard at being ethical and considerate of both women. It was hard work well done. (hide spoiler)]

  6. 5 out of 5

    Journeywoman

    I got this ARC at BEA. I found it marvelous. I'd give it 4 1/2 stars, leaving one star off because the end chapters weren't written as well as the first forty. That could be changed upon publication though. If you read one non-fiction book during the year, it should be this one. If you have kids, or know teenagers who put every single moment of their lives on twitter and facebook, you should make them read this book. It shows how a picture, one picture, changed the life trajectories of two women I got this ARC at BEA. I found it marvelous. I'd give it 4 1/2 stars, leaving one star off because the end chapters weren't written as well as the first forty. That could be changed upon publication though. If you read one non-fiction book during the year, it should be this one. If you have kids, or know teenagers who put every single moment of their lives on twitter and facebook, you should make them read this book. It shows how a picture, one picture, changed the life trajectories of two women. This is a marvelous book and I recommend it highly.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Shaeley Santiago

    While the book does not always have the best flow, it is a fascinating account of how a picture came to represent the racial tension surrounding the integration of Central High School, and then the ongoing story of the relationship between two women (one black, one white) captured in the picture. One take-away for me from the book was that telling what happened in an accurate fashion is not an easy proposition as there were multiple interpretations of the same events depending on your perspectiv While the book does not always have the best flow, it is a fascinating account of how a picture came to represent the racial tension surrounding the integration of Central High School, and then the ongoing story of the relationship between two women (one black, one white) captured in the picture. One take-away for me from the book was that telling what happened in an accurate fashion is not an easy proposition as there were multiple interpretations of the same events depending on your perspective.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Angie Fehl

    Margolick's book is sort of a dual bio looking at the two main women from one of the most famous photographs taken during the Civil Rights Movement era. How that photo came to be and what happened to the two women later in life. The truth might surprise you. The story opens around summer 1956 through start of school year 1957. Elizabeth Eckford was a shy, bookish African-American teenager (15 at the time of the photo) from a working-class family. Being self-conscious about her crooked teeth, she Margolick's book is sort of a dual bio looking at the two main women from one of the most famous photographs taken during the Civil Rights Movement era. How that photo came to be and what happened to the two women later in life. The truth might surprise you. The story opens around summer 1956 through start of school year 1957. Elizabeth Eckford was a shy, bookish African-American teenager (15 at the time of the photo) from a working-class family. Being self-conscious about her crooked teeth, she tended to keep to herself. She struggled with being a little socially awkward but secretly dreamed of being a lawyer. Following the seminal Supreme Court case Brown vs. Board of Education, news broke that Central High in Little Rock, Arkansas was planning to integrate their previously all-white student body and was starting the selection process for black students. Elizabeth shocked everyone when she decided to put her name in the mix. Her reasoning went back to those law school dreams -- she knew lawyers had to be strong orators, and Central was said to have some of the best public speaking courses in the state for high school students. It also had a huge library, offering her more educational resources than her schooling so far had been able to provide. As we know now, Elizabeth was one of 9 black students to be chosen, a group that came to be collectively known as The Little Rock Nine. Hazel Bryan, also fifteen when she first meets Elizabeth, grew up on a rural family farm, born to -- I hate to say it, but it's laid out pretty clear in this book -- incredibly racist parents. Hazel had the kind of personality that caused her to always seek the attention of others as well as be prone to theatrics. The day of the now famous photograph, September 4, 1957 started like a regular school day for both of them. Both got ready, dressed in their selected first-day-back outfits and set out. Just like any student might. But then history takes over. During that short walk from her home to school, Elizabeth is spotted by the crowds gathered to watch the arrival of the Little Rock Nine. Instantly she is surrounded by people throwing racial slurs and threats from every direction, one of those voices being Hazel, the photograph seen today being shot by numerous photographers from different angles, but the most famous and widely published being that of photojournalist Will Counts. Elizabeth is so overcome by the ambush that she doesn't even make it into the school initially, instead pushing her way to a nearby bench where she collapses in tears. It's at this point when a white journalist sees her, sits next to her and puts his arm around her shoulders trying to calm and comfort her. The crowd sees this and immediately starts screaming for a lynching and for someone to cut the journalist's balls off for touching her. When interviewed later, the journalist is even asked if he thought he might have crossed an ethical line. For trying to comfort another human being in pain. THIS IS IN 1957, Y'ALL! So the initial attempt to integrate Central High turns out to be a pretty abysmal failure due to the students not being able to get past the racist mobs waiting at the doors. When the students finally do make it in and try to attend classes some weeks later, within 2 hours they have to be secretly evacuated out again in unmarked police cars! Daisy Bates, then leader of the Arkansas branch of the NAACP, said she would not subject the children to that again unless the President of the United States himself provided some hardcore security. President Eisenhower responded by sending over the 101st Airborne. The Little Rock Nine are then escorted & guarded by 22 soldiers. But Eisenhower can't keep the soldiers there indefinitely so after awhile the 101st is pulled and the detail is given to the local National Guard, at the time being largely made up of bigoted whites who were never for the integration idea. You can imagine what this means for the Little Rock Nine. Elizabeth continues to attend classes at Central High but endures pushing, hitting, slurs, spitballs set on fire and shot at her, dead flies dropped in her lunch trays and glass shards scattered in her shower stall in P.E. class, just to name some of it. She also survives multiple instances of being shoved down flights of stairs. Whenever she feels ready to give up though, she reminds herself of the story of Jackie Robinson, finding enough strength in it to push through. {Margolick also includes stories of black youth of the era, younger than Elizabeth at the time, who heard her story and were inspired by her strength, driving them to become lawyers, senators, and activists.} Elizabeth's story even gets heard by famed musician Louis Armstrong, a man who normally appeared so happy and at ease, but was so riled by the injustices the Little Rock Nine had to face that he gives a very impassioned, f-bomb laden interview when asked his view on the situation. The public responded back with equal anger, surprisingly. People tried to boycott his shows, radios dropped his records from their playlists, and Ford Motors threatened to drop their sponsorship. Sammy Davis, Jr. said he was glad the interview was bringing more attention to the Civil Rights struggle but complained that Armstrong should have spoken up ten years sooner. After finishing their school years, Elizabeth and Hazel tried to put Central High behind them but neither ever entirely escaped the memories, especially not when that photo would resurface every year of their lives on the anniversary of the first integration attempt. Elizabeth was so traumatized by her experiences she was never able to make it to law school to pursue her dream. Instead she tried a brief career with the military but struggled too much with anxiety, depression, and PTSD. She took over her parents house after they passed, raising her own sons there, trying to make ends meet on the most meager of incomes. She still battled with depression stemming from those years at Central, depression that led to multiple suicide attempts over the course of her life. Hazel, a few years into young motherhood, found religion and reflected on her past mark on the history books. Feeling a change in her soul, not wanting her own children to grow up racist, Hazel took it upon herself to track down Elizabeth's number and apologize for any pain she caused all those years ago. With the dialogue opened, the conversations continued leading to a gradual (and unexpected) friendship between the two ladies. They found they shared interests in gardening and thrift-store shopping. They went on speaking tours together, hoping to show others that you can grow as people and become better than your past. They even attended a racial healing seminar together. Hazel also continued to earnestly educate herself, buying stacks of of books on black history. Something I found disappointing to read was the treatment the ladies received from some typically well-respected figures -- Maya Angelou and Oprah Winfrey. After attending a poetry reading given by Angelou, the ladies went backstage to meet the poet, believing she would have an interest in the update to their story. As it turns out, they were snubbed. Maya Angelou didn't seem to have any idea who they were and didn't really seem to care, which shattered Hazel. Later, when asked onto the Oprah show in 1999 to tell their story, Elizabeth was taken aback at how Oprah seemed not to really believe that these two women could set aside their past and become friends. When both ladies insisted the friendship was real, Elizabeth was unsettled by Oprah's "yeah right, okaay" attitude, both Hazel & Elizabeth left feeling like their segment was abruptly cut off. Hazel, despite her efforts, never shook the backlash of the photograph. Media sources always came back to that one moment, which to me illustrated how media can be a huge instigator in continually fueling the fires of racism. You have someone showing you that they're acknowledging their part in past wrongs and honestly trying to make amends for them (what else can you expect from a person?!) and it doesn't seem to make one bit of difference. Over the years her fragile friendship with Elizabeth slowly started to crumble. Elizabeth seemed to get into dark moods where she was convinced Hazel was only after publicity again. The dark periods would lift, the friendship would strengthen for a time, until Elizabeth's moods would go dark yet again and she would point out things Hazel had said or done that Elizabeth found fault or suspicion in. Hazel eventually grew frustrated and tired with the back and forth and quietly stepped out of Elizabeth's life entirely, though she always gave the "door's always open to her" kind of answer when asked if the friendship could ever be mended. In the end, I came away learning a lot but am still not 100% sure what to make of the later friendship between Elizabeth & Hazel. I do feel like Hazel did her best to right the wrongs but at the same time I could understand Elizabeth's point of view in some of Hazel's actions looking a little suspect. Was there just TOO much hurt to entirely heal? Where the book ends (the way it's a bit of an open-ended question mark) gives the feeling that both women honestly cared for each other and mourned the friendship dropping off the way it did, yet both admitted they were open to reconnecting. Is it pain, stubborness, the fatigue of society's judgements that kept them apart? A mix of all? Hard to say, but the blessing is steps towards repairing a historical sin were made and the story doesn't close on continued hate but more of a "It's complicated."

  9. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    The story writes itself. This is the kind of story that keeps nonfiction in the lead of my personal favorite genres. With that being said, the author's writing style was entirely too distracting - it didn't read or flow comfortably. This is worth a read, definitely. I only wish someone else had written the book besides Mr. Margolick. I will say this about it... it sparked one of the most interesting discussions my book club (we are in Little Rock, and most in our group are active in protecting c The story writes itself. This is the kind of story that keeps nonfiction in the lead of my personal favorite genres. With that being said, the author's writing style was entirely too distracting - it didn't read or flow comfortably. This is worth a read, definitely. I only wish someone else had written the book besides Mr. Margolick. I will say this about it... it sparked one of the most interesting discussions my book club (we are in Little Rock, and most in our group are active in protecting civil rights - racial, ethnic, religious, sex, size, age...) has had yet. More specifically, several of the girls in my book club attended Central High School in the 80s/90s. So we talked about their experiences there and even now living in Little Rock - what is the climate of acceptance vs. -ism. The general consensus seems to be that while progress has been made, intolerance and hate are still prevalent. Furthermore, none of us are satisfied with this. I would highly recommend this as a book club read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    Riveting, eye-opening, heartbreaking...wow!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jael

    "In May 1957 school administrators set out to find the black trailblazers: children who were simultaneously old enough to attend to cut it Central, close enough to get there easily, smart enough to cut it academically, strong enough to survive the ordeal, mild enough to make no waves, and stoic enough not to fight back. And, collectively, scarce enough to minimize white objections." Pg. 26 On Sept. 4, 1957 nine black teenagers tried to enter Central High School, an all-white school that had been "In May 1957 school administrators set out to find the black trailblazers: children who were simultaneously old enough to attend to cut it Central, close enough to get there easily, smart enough to cut it academically, strong enough to survive the ordeal, mild enough to make no waves, and stoic enough not to fight back. And, collectively, scarce enough to minimize white objections." Pg. 26 On Sept. 4, 1957 nine black teenagers tried to enter Central High School, an all-white school that had been ordered to integrate following the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education case. But it would be an exercise in futility. For one of those teenagers in particular, Elizabeth Eckford, it would be an extremely emotional day. Hazel Bryan made sure Elizabeth knew she wasn't wanted at Central. That moment is forever immortalized in a photograph by Will Counts. A photo that Hazel has worked her entire life to move away from. For Elizabeth, that day and all of her experiences at Central would be much harder to move on from. Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock by David Margolick not only breaks down that iconic photo, it also examines the culture of Little Rock, Arkansas, before and after that day. Elizabeth always had her nose in a book. At the time, segregation was still in full-swing and Elizabeth longed to a person who was more than her circumstances. There were dreams of going college. But those dreams were derailed by her experiences at Central. Hazel was very outgoing as a child. She liked to perform. She even played with black children as a child. Which makes me believe her behavior on Sept. 4 1957 was learned. I don't believe people just wake up one day and decide they're a racist or have some racist beliefs. It's a learned behavior. Her family didn't believe in integration. To them, white people should stay with white people. Black people should stay with black people. Sept. 4 1957 was a special day for both girls. Elizabeth and her sister labored over her dress. She wanted to look good. Hazel also wanted to look good, she wore a rather tight and "classy" dress. On that day, Elizabeth had to walk alone. The intention of organizers was to have all nine walk together, but Elizabeth's family didn't have a telephone, so she didn't get the message. Despite all the hateful words, Elizabeth showed extreme grace on that day. Hazel did not, forgetting about that day soon after. At the time, Hazel didn't believe she did anything wrong. It was just another day to Hazel. Denied entry on that day, Elizabeth and the eight other students were eventually allowed in months later. All of them were subjected too hateful taunts and violence. But the worst treatment was saved for Elizabeth. If they could break the strongest of the bunch, then the rest would leave with her. Elizabeth came close to her breaking point several times, but continued to attend Central. Many prominent black figures, including Jackie Robinson, were in awe of these students. It's hard to wrap my brain around this era. How can you treat another human being with such hate? Why? What do you gain from it? Hazel Bryan came to question her own past. She didn't want to be known as that girl in the photograph? A few years later, she sought out Elizabeth and apologized -- something the media overlooked for decades. Why? It was probably easier to have a hateful image of Hazel than a redemptive one. While, Hazel eventually found happiness as a wife and mother, Elizabeth's life took a different turn. She struggled with post traumatic stress disorder and with being a single parent. All of it can be traced to her experiences at Central. There is so much detail in this book. I could go on and on, it's very well researched. What struck me the most is that decades later Hazel and Elizabeth were able to form a friendship. A friendship that both questioned. Is Hazel doing it to look good in the media? Why does it seem Hazel is only around at media events? Has Elizabeth truly forgiven Hazel? Even the media questioned the friendship. Given their history, how can they possible be friends? This book paints a full picture of a pretty awful part of history. But it's a part of history that everyone should read. Please, please, please read this book!! Rating: O.M.G. !!! Note: I received a copy of the book from Authors on the Web in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Liralen

    I picked this up at the library book sale on November 8, and it seems particularly apropos in light of how the U.S. presidential election went. I knew the basic story of the Little Rock Nine, of course, but Margolick goes a step further: he traces the trajectories of two students—one a black girl trying to go to school, one a white girl captured on camera spewing vitriol at her—in the days weeks months years decades following that photo. As Margolick notes, most of what people read now about the I picked this up at the library book sale on November 8, and it seems particularly apropos in light of how the U.S. presidential election went. I knew the basic story of the Little Rock Nine, of course, but Margolick goes a step further: he traces the trajectories of two students—one a black girl trying to go to school, one a white girl captured on camera spewing vitriol at her—in the days weeks months years decades following that photo. As Margolick notes, most of what people read now about the Little Rock Nine ends with their triumphant entry into the school, escorted by soldiers. That reading doesn't usually include the months of torment the Nine faced at the hands of white students (and the indifference of the adults around them): being spat on, shoved into lockers, scalded in the showers; people leaving broken glass in the shower; being shoved down the stairs; people throwing raw eggs and rotten fruit... After that first year, Central High actually closed for a year in protest. Elizabeth Eckford, the Little Rock Nine member Margolick focuses on, finished her education with a tutor—although she did go back: she returned to Central High when it reopened to provide moral support to one of the original Nine, who would otherwise be facing that first day alone. (This more than anything, when I read it here, put my respect for the way Eckford handled herself through the roof.) The other thing that isn't usually included in contemporary reading is the what comes next of the matter. As Elizabeth walked around town or waited for the bus [as an adult], few in white Little Rock would have recognized her, or remembered what she had done. But in black Little Rock, they well knew who she was, and heroic as she'd been, she was also a cautionary tale. She personified for some the price paid for integration—a price, these people had concluded, that had been too high (184). Because for Eckford, the price was high. She got a better education, in an academic sense, than she might have at her segregated high school, but she also got a lifetime's worth of fear and distrust and trauma. Ten, twenty, thirty years later, she was still having a much harder time of it than Hazel Bryan—the other girl in the picture. What's so interesting here is that Bryan was not, to Eckford, an important part of the story at the time. She was, on that day, one in a sea of many; her parents also put her in a different school soon after, so her harassment of Eckford was short-lived. But she was, to many, the face of bigotry. It's pretty fascinating: as Margolick tells it, when Bryan came forward to publicly apologise (having privately done so years earlier), she became not only somebody for the area to blame for Little Rock's bigotry but also somebody to blame for, well, telling the world that the Little Rock Nine had faced bigotry. It's amazing, reading this, to see just how willing the majority was to try to bury it—just as the majority in the 1950s had been willing to look the other way, the more modern majority was willing to insist that no, no, it hadn't been that bad, certainly they'd never seen any abuse... (Amazing, but not surprising.) This is not a complete history of the Little Rock Nine, as the focus is on only two people (one from the Nine and one distinctly outside the Nine), but it's a really, really important part of the story. Also really important history, given the current political climate.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    On the morning of September 4, 1957, due to a miscommunication about where to meet, Elizabeth Eckford, one of the "Little Rock Nine", set out for her first day at Central High School. Arriving alone, she was isolated among a mob of angry, hostile whites who were determined that African Americans were not going to integrate Central High School. With cries of "lynch her" and "let's drag her over to that tree" ringing in her ears, Elizabeth was denied entrance to the school and had to walk through On the morning of September 4, 1957, due to a miscommunication about where to meet, Elizabeth Eckford, one of the "Little Rock Nine", set out for her first day at Central High School. Arriving alone, she was isolated among a mob of angry, hostile whites who were determined that African Americans were not going to integrate Central High School. With cries of "lynch her" and "let's drag her over to that tree" ringing in her ears, Elizabeth was denied entrance to the school and had to walk through the crowd to the bus stop to await the arrival of the next bus that would carry her to safety. One of the most iconic pictures from Little Rock in the first weeks in September was Elizabeth walking through the crowd with a white girl standing directly behind her screaming racial epithets at her. Frozen forever in that moment, Elizabeth Eckford and Hazel Bryan Massey, her tormentor, were linked together in one of the most famous photographs of the civil rights movement and provided a reminder, as if the country needed a reminder, of the personal costs of desegregation and showcased the fact that much of the burden of desegregation was placed on young people. David Margolick tells the story of these two girls and the impact that the desegregation of Central High School had on their lives. Elizabeth struggled daily with the trauma of the Little Rock desegregation year and, ironically, Hazel was pulled out of the school and sent to a small rural high school to avoid the desegregation crisis. Margolick follows the life story of both women as both had to deal with the events of 1957. The two women finally met in middle age and slowly worked their way through apology, forgiveness, and what was almost unbelievable to me, friendship. The value of this book, besides being a compelling read and well-written, is David Margolick putting human faces on one of the most shameful chapters in American history and revealing how a chance encounter on that September morning had a lasting impact on the lives of two women.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Maria Christensen

    If you're looking for quick, easy answers, and neatly drawn conclusions to complex issues, this isn't the book for you. If you want people to behave in predictable ways, this isn't the book for you. By that, I don't mean the overt racism of previous decades, rather the ways in which people have healed, or not, since then. If you're looking for a stereotypical tell-all, this isn't the book for you. It's as much about the impact of racism and how people see themselves, as it is about these two wome If you're looking for quick, easy answers, and neatly drawn conclusions to complex issues, this isn't the book for you. If you want people to behave in predictable ways, this isn't the book for you. By that, I don't mean the overt racism of previous decades, rather the ways in which people have healed, or not, since then. If you're looking for a stereotypical tell-all, this isn't the book for you. It's as much about the impact of racism and how people see themselves, as it is about these two women. If you want another layer of understanding when considering why people think and act the way they do now, this is the book for you. If you just want to know how and why this iconic picture happened, this is the book for you. If you want to know what happened afterwards - and that story is almost more important in some ways - this is the book for you. Just don't expect a narrative that leaves you satisfied with a happy ending, or grieving or upset because of a sad ending, because that's how people's lives usually work - you have to work at understanding. This book covers the bases without being academic or even going into too much depth. Elizabeth and Hazel are deeply complicated, human, flawed, courageous people. Elizabeth is still a hero. You might not be sure what you really think of them after reading this book. If you're okay with that, this is the book for you.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    I found myself flipping to page 60 quite often to look at the iconic photograph that the book is about. There are so many different things happening in the photo. It honestly gave me goosebumps several times. Being a transplant in the South, the things that people say (in 2011!), continue to amaze me. I can't fathom the atmosphere in Little Rock in 1957. The book was interesting, but did drone on a bit at times. I am critical on how a book ends, fiction or non-fiction. Not to give anything away, I found myself flipping to page 60 quite often to look at the iconic photograph that the book is about. There are so many different things happening in the photo. It honestly gave me goosebumps several times. Being a transplant in the South, the things that people say (in 2011!), continue to amaze me. I can't fathom the atmosphere in Little Rock in 1957. The book was interesting, but did drone on a bit at times. I am critical on how a book ends, fiction or non-fiction. Not to give anything away, but I did like the ending of this book. The author told it like it is: he did not try to contrive a happy, cookie-cutter ending to wrap things up. The book ended like so many things in real-life do.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Diane Mueller

    This is not a happily ever after book. Elizabeth and Hazel's picture will forever be a part of history but that was just a brief moment in both of their lives. How that day affected Elizabeth for the rest of her life is told in this story. Hazel moved on yet returned to apologize which affected her more than the day of the picture ever did. The two became friends for a time but old feelings keep that friendship from developing into something lasting, The story isn't over and never will be in the This is not a happily ever after book. Elizabeth and Hazel's picture will forever be a part of history but that was just a brief moment in both of their lives. How that day affected Elizabeth for the rest of her life is told in this story. Hazel moved on yet returned to apologize which affected her more than the day of the picture ever did. The two became friends for a time but old feelings keep that friendship from developing into something lasting, The story isn't over and never will be in their lifetime.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

    Fascinating look behind the girls-turned-into-women from the famous Central High integration picture from 1957. I'd seen the picture growing up and then happened to see an Oprah special years ago on the people from famous pictures and I remembered these two ladies being on it and that Hazel (the white girl screaming obscenities) had apologized to Elizabeth. Pictures and Oprah shows show only a glimpse of what these women lived through, especially Elizabeth, as one of nine black children in a hig Fascinating look behind the girls-turned-into-women from the famous Central High integration picture from 1957. I'd seen the picture growing up and then happened to see an Oprah special years ago on the people from famous pictures and I remembered these two ladies being on it and that Hazel (the white girl screaming obscenities) had apologized to Elizabeth. Pictures and Oprah shows show only a glimpse of what these women lived through, especially Elizabeth, as one of nine black children in a high school of 2000 white children.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    The photograph at the heart of this book is one I've thought about a lot, and I have often wondered who exactly the girls in the picture were and what happened afterwards. It's an odd thing to have a book appear about exactly that subject, and for it to turn out to be a much stranger and more complicated story than I could ever have guessed. It is occasionally rather harrowing reading, especially the moment-by-moment walkthrough of the morning that the photograph was taken.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jenni

    This was such a awesome read! Touching, frustrating, thought provoking, oftentimes heartbreaking. There was quite a bit of historical background and many issues covered, not just racism. While it is apparent how much things have changed since the Little Rock desegregation attempt, the narrative provided a gentle reminder of how much further we have to go.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Polly

    Eye opening and heartbreaking story. I think this should be a must read for kids in school just like the Diary of Anne Frank. I say that because the Diary of Anne Frank touched me when I had to read it in school and stuck with me just as the story of these two women does.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Carmen

    Very interesting story about that famous picture. Very psychological and presented well from both sides.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    In 1957, the first nine African American students attempted to enter Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas as the process of integration had begun. As Elizabeth Eckford was walking to school she was accosted by Hazel Bryan, in an angry crowd of white students, who screamed derogatory racial remarks about Elizabeth not belonging to the school. This was a well researched and well written book about how Elizabeth suffered, how Hazel tried to make amends later and how Elizabeth dealt with emot In 1957, the first nine African American students attempted to enter Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas as the process of integration had begun. As Elizabeth Eckford was walking to school she was accosted by Hazel Bryan, in an angry crowd of white students, who screamed derogatory racial remarks about Elizabeth not belonging to the school. This was a well researched and well written book about how Elizabeth suffered, how Hazel tried to make amends later and how Elizabeth dealt with emotional scars indefinitely.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    I had heard of the Little Rock Nine but didn't know much about them. The story behind the infamous photo is hard - and important - to consider. I am so grateful Elizabeth Eckford and Hazel Massery were willing to share so much of their private lives with the world.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    There is rarely a book (and almost never a non-fiction one) that I can say I couldn't put down. And yet I found myself unable to close the cover on this one for very long. I was like my young son, trying to sneak in just one more chapter. I learned so much, and not just about the historical events surrounding the integration of Central High. For example, I never knew there were internment camps for Japanese Americans in Arkansas during WWII. As a Californian, I was only aware of those on the wes There is rarely a book (and almost never a non-fiction one) that I can say I couldn't put down. And yet I found myself unable to close the cover on this one for very long. I was like my young son, trying to sneak in just one more chapter. I learned so much, and not just about the historical events surrounding the integration of Central High. For example, I never knew there were internment camps for Japanese Americans in Arkansas during WWII. As a Californian, I was only aware of those on the west coast. By weaving in the historical players against the backdrop of the biography of these two women, the author achieves something that few non-fiction books do for me. The author took me to another time and yet it is no different than our current era. There are no easy solutions to the problem of racism and the book doesn't give any either. The humanity of the two women portrayed in this book make the story compelling, but also calls for introspection in the reader. One can't help but ask- who am I in this story? and where do I fit into, or not fit into, the overarching American story. In so many ways, the stories of Elizabeth and Hazel are every person's story. Hate, reconciliation, redemption, rejection, betrayal. This true story is almost a mythical Greek tragedy. One I highly recommend reading.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Krista

    My son and I went to the Brown vs. the Board of Education National Park site in Topeka last year. Writ large on a wall was a copy of the Johnny Jenkins version of the picture of Elizabeth and Hazel. Elizabeth, eyes hidden by sunglasses, in a perfectly pressed skirt and shirt, grasping a notebook in her thin, dark-skinned arm. Hazel behind her, her white face contorted, her mouth agape with hate. I knew nothing about the two women. I didn't know their names. I didn't even, at that point, know tha My son and I went to the Brown vs. the Board of Education National Park site in Topeka last year. Writ large on a wall was a copy of the Johnny Jenkins version of the picture of Elizabeth and Hazel. Elizabeth, eyes hidden by sunglasses, in a perfectly pressed skirt and shirt, grasping a notebook in her thin, dark-skinned arm. Hazel behind her, her white face contorted, her mouth agape with hate. I knew nothing about the two women. I didn't know their names. I didn't even, at that point, know that the picture depicted part of the story of the Little Rock Nine. But the picture captivated me. I took a picture of my son, grasping his Junior Ranger packet in his thin, white arm, staring at the picture. What my photo didn't capture was what he said as he gazed; "Mom, people were pretty ignorant back then, huh?" Fast forward several months later. We were traveling through Arkansas and stopped at the Little Rock Central High School historic site. There was the picture again; a different version (and, I later discovered, a more famous version by Will Counts, though I confess I find much more drama and emotion in the Jenkins snap) Then, in the bookshop, I saw a poster of two older ladies, one black, one white, standing in front of Central High School. "Reconciliation," it was called. I did not recognize those aged ladies as the two from the picture that had captured my imagination. But then, browsing further, I came across this book. I was thrilled. I expected to be captivated by the story of these two women. About the world they lived in then. About the world they live in now. And about the world they traveled in between. I was disappointed. Perhaps my expectations were way too high. But this book disappoints at almost every level. It spends time telling the story of how the picture(s) came to be. It tells the story of how America reacted to the picture (including a famous anecdote about how Louis Armstrong was finally inspired to speak out against racism based on the anger he felt at being confronted with that picture). It tells the story of life inside that high school for the Little Rock Nine (only the Japanese students, left over from the WWII internment camps were more isolated). It tells the story about the larger issue of race relations in America. But then it falls into tabloid territory when it starts to try to capture the lives of the two women; it feels more like material for afternoon television than material for The New Yorker. Sentences like "It is here that I step into the story" are illustrative of the heavy hand of the author. But, despite its weaknesses, I am glad I read the book. At some point, Hazel (the white girl) says "Life is more than a moment." But these two women might never overcome their moment because we, as a nation, can't really let them. It's almost as if we need them to be nameless iconoclasts instead of real humans who moved forward and continued living after the shutter snapped.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    A quote from another book called “The Book Thief” immediately came to mind throughout my reading of this book; ”I am Haunted By Humans”. The behavior of humans has always been a fascination to me. Why do we act the way we do? We do the things we shouldn’t and the things we should we don’t. Elizabeth and Hazel should be required school reading material. If not an entire semester course on relationships for that matter. Perhaps you’ll see some people you know or have known, including yourself; if A quote from another book called “The Book Thief” immediately came to mind throughout my reading of this book; ”I am Haunted By Humans”. The behavior of humans has always been a fascination to me. Why do we act the way we do? We do the things we shouldn’t and the things we should we don’t. Elizabeth and Hazel should be required school reading material. If not an entire semester course on relationships for that matter. Perhaps you’ll see some people you know or have known, including yourself; if you’re just willing to see. Two 15 year old girls. There’s the girl who wanted to dress sophisticated and older than her years. The girl who was a good student and wanted to be the trail blazer. The entertainer loves to show off for friends or total strangers. Then you see the person who just came out to watch and gets caught up in mob behavior. Those who fancy themselves someone with “high standards”. Those who have no standards. The victim. Those who want to be a victim. The person who holds onto pain for a lifetime or the one who swallows pain to hide from it. Those looking to for “a gotcha moment”. Those who hold friendship hostage. The school bullies. The adult bullies. Those who try to pay back their wrongs. The know it all. Those who will never admit they are wrong. Humans are judgmental, stubborn, ignorant, kind, generous, egotistical, unconventional, and revolutionists. Can we never learn from our mistakes? Doesn't seem so. The names changed and the topic of the day another bias and we struggle on. We stand with each other and we stand against each other. Can we not take time to get to know the other person or their opinions and choose to love or like them anyway? I do have a personal spoiler: The young man you see smiling in the photo background is one I’ve often wondered about. Why was he smiling when everyone else was so angry? I got the answer in this book. He was laughing at Hazel. He had just turned to a friend to say he had never heard a woman cuss like that in his life.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    David Margolick makes a historical event and breathes life into it. He does this by introducing the two main characters separately--we learn about their families, how they live, and what has influenced their lives to the point in history where their lives intersect. While I lived through the events the book focuses upon, I was busy with my own life. I noted that shortly after the attempted integration at Little Rock Central High School, I became pregnant with our first son; so the lives of other David Margolick makes a historical event and breathes life into it. He does this by introducing the two main characters separately--we learn about their families, how they live, and what has influenced their lives to the point in history where their lives intersect. While I lived through the events the book focuses upon, I was busy with my own life. I noted that shortly after the attempted integration at Little Rock Central High School, I became pregnant with our first son; so the lives of others took a back seat. I was amazed at how the event was commemorated with much fanfare even into the nineties. One note concerning the physical makeup of the book. While Margolick offers documentation and comments in endnotes, they don't coincide with how they are noted in the chapters. After awhile I just forgot about trying to find the correct note and read several chapters at a time. But the story overall is a sad one when it pertains to Elizabeth and Hazel. The effects of the event on Elizabeth were heart-rending. She lived aimlessly, as a recluse for much of her life. I think her life might not have been much different because of her Mother's mental illness and its effect on her life. But we want these people to be heroes that have successful lives. Hazel, despite ups and downs in her life seems to have achieved a mostly good life. She came to realize she didn't want to be the person that the famous picture portrayed her as, and she made changes in her life. It is strange that these two should have come together later in life and developed a friendship. Life-long influences come to the fore, however especially when people are emotionally fragile. This book is side story to an event in our nation's history. It documents the price sometimes made by people involved in those events. Don't look for a happy ending, but it is an interesting story.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    Once upon a time, this country was deeply divided by the color of a person's skin. This book captures the story of two young women who found themselves forever captured within a single moment of that era, a moment that would shape them for years to come. OK...so that "once upon a time" thing really isn't true. Because we know (after this most recent election and 8 years with a President of color) that the racial divide in this country is alive and well, ingrained so deeply within us Americans tha Once upon a time, this country was deeply divided by the color of a person's skin. This book captures the story of two young women who found themselves forever captured within a single moment of that era, a moment that would shape them for years to come. OK...so that "once upon a time" thing really isn't true. Because we know (after this most recent election and 8 years with a President of color) that the racial divide in this country is alive and well, ingrained so deeply within us Americans that even 20/20 hindsight can't cure us. Reading the book I found myself enraged at times--in those moments as Elizabeth walked past crowds of hateful whites shouting: "String her up! Get out of her [email protected]$%^&!" She was 15 for God's sake! I'm 35 and can't imagine doing what she did. Where did she find the courage? Maybe it came from the naïveté that this was the start of something better. I also found myself surprised to find a connection with Hazel. She embodied the white hatred, but it was clear after awhile that she was a 15-year-old girl who was pretty much following along, doing as she'd been raised to do. And over the course of her life she took actions to change herself from that girl she had been. This book follows the ups and downs of their lives--Elizabeth, more fragile than I realized at first, carried the weight of the trauma she faced for many years, often burdened by it. Hazel tried time and again to show her apologies were more than about having her name in the spotlight. They even managed to find connection and friendship for awhile. At the end of this book, I'm just tired and overwhelmed by it all. The racism of this nation is so complex and so much a part of us, within this nation and within each and every one of us who calls ourselves Americans. Will we ever be able to overcome this beast?

  29. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I had a really difficult time getting through this book. The book itself, was mostly uninteresting and slightly confusing as what story was really being told. The first 237 pages was an odd mix of not only Elizabeth's story/upbringing and some of Hazel's story/upbringing but also a few other people somewhat connected (on the fringes) with the story of the Little Rock Nine. It was not until I hit page 238 that the story got interesting and really delved into the relationship dynamics between Eliz I had a really difficult time getting through this book. The book itself, was mostly uninteresting and slightly confusing as what story was really being told. The first 237 pages was an odd mix of not only Elizabeth's story/upbringing and some of Hazel's story/upbringing but also a few other people somewhat connected (on the fringes) with the story of the Little Rock Nine. It was not until I hit page 238 that the story got interesting and really delved into the relationship dynamics between Elizabeth and Hazel. I was disappointed that the book barely plodded along for so long.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne

    This book should be required reading for all high school students. We have all seen the iconic picture of one of the Little Rock Nine being followed an angry mob, with one woman in particular spewing hate. Both were 15. This book traces the lifetime of both women who were bonded together forever by a single photograph. Amazingly, they did have a friendship for a period of time. It raises the question: can Blacks and whites ever be truly reconciled? I wish, I hope, but I wonder, too.

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