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Warriors Don't Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock's Central High

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The landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling, Brown v. Board of Education, brought the promise of integration to Little Rock, Arkansas, but it was hard-won for the nine black teenagers chosen to integrate Central High School in 1957. They ran the gauntlet between a rampaging mob and the heavily armed Arkansas National Guard, dispatched by Governor Orval Faubus to subvert federal The landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling, Brown v. Board of Education, brought the promise of integration to Little Rock, Arkansas, but it was hard-won for the nine black teenagers chosen to integrate Central High School in 1957. They ran the gauntlet between a rampaging mob and the heavily armed Arkansas National Guard, dispatched by Governor Orval Faubus to subvert federal law and bar them from entering the school. President Dwight D. Eisenhower responded by sending in soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division, the elite "Screaming Eagles" - and transformed Melba Pattillo and her eight friends into reluctant warriors on the battlefield of civil rights. May 17, 1994, marks the fortieth anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, which was argued and won by Thurgood Marshall, whose passion and presence emboldened the Little Rock struggle. Melba Pattillo Beals commemorates the milestone decision in this first-person account of her ordeal at the center of the violent confrontation that helped shape the civil rights movement. Beals takes us from the lynch mob that greeted the terrified fifteen-year-old to a celebrity homecoming with her eight compatriots thirty years later, on October 23, 1987, hosted by Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton in the mansion that Faubus built. As they returned to tour the halls of the school, gathering from myriad professions and all corners of the country, they were greeted by the legacy of their courage - a bespectacled black teenager, the president of the student body at Central High. Beals chronicles her harrowing junior year at Central High, when she began each school day by polishing her saddle shoes and bracing herself for battle. Nothing, not eventhe 101st Airborne Division, could blunt the segregationists' brutal organized campaign of terrorism that included telephone threats, insults and assaults at school, brigades of attacking mothers, rogue police, restroom fireball attacks, acid-throwers, vigilante stalkers, economic


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The landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling, Brown v. Board of Education, brought the promise of integration to Little Rock, Arkansas, but it was hard-won for the nine black teenagers chosen to integrate Central High School in 1957. They ran the gauntlet between a rampaging mob and the heavily armed Arkansas National Guard, dispatched by Governor Orval Faubus to subvert federal The landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling, Brown v. Board of Education, brought the promise of integration to Little Rock, Arkansas, but it was hard-won for the nine black teenagers chosen to integrate Central High School in 1957. They ran the gauntlet between a rampaging mob and the heavily armed Arkansas National Guard, dispatched by Governor Orval Faubus to subvert federal law and bar them from entering the school. President Dwight D. Eisenhower responded by sending in soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division, the elite "Screaming Eagles" - and transformed Melba Pattillo and her eight friends into reluctant warriors on the battlefield of civil rights. May 17, 1994, marks the fortieth anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, which was argued and won by Thurgood Marshall, whose passion and presence emboldened the Little Rock struggle. Melba Pattillo Beals commemorates the milestone decision in this first-person account of her ordeal at the center of the violent confrontation that helped shape the civil rights movement. Beals takes us from the lynch mob that greeted the terrified fifteen-year-old to a celebrity homecoming with her eight compatriots thirty years later, on October 23, 1987, hosted by Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton in the mansion that Faubus built. As they returned to tour the halls of the school, gathering from myriad professions and all corners of the country, they were greeted by the legacy of their courage - a bespectacled black teenager, the president of the student body at Central High. Beals chronicles her harrowing junior year at Central High, when she began each school day by polishing her saddle shoes and bracing herself for battle. Nothing, not eventhe 101st Airborne Division, could blunt the segregationists' brutal organized campaign of terrorism that included telephone threats, insults and assaults at school, brigades of attacking mothers, rogue police, restroom fireball attacks, acid-throwers, vigilante stalkers, economic

30 review for Warriors Don't Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock's Central High

  1. 5 out of 5

    Shannon Hitchcock

    This book was assigned reading for my son and I picked it up when he finished. Melba Patillo Beals was one of the students chosen to integrate Little Rock's Central High School in 1957. The amount of courage that she and the other students exhibited is incredible. Melba was threatened, taunted, and even had acid sprayed in her eyes. I read this book with tears in my own eyes, ashamed at this part of our country's history. It also made me question whether I would have had the courage, especially a This book was assigned reading for my son and I picked it up when he finished. Melba Patillo Beals was one of the students chosen to integrate Little Rock's Central High School in 1957. The amount of courage that she and the other students exhibited is incredible. Melba was threatened, taunted, and even had acid sprayed in her eyes. I read this book with tears in my own eyes, ashamed at this part of our country's history. It also made me question whether I would have had the courage, especially as a teenager, to endure what Melba and the other African-American students did. If I'm completely honest, the answer to that question is a resounding NO. Kudos to schools who assign this book and unflinchingly explore this uncomfortable topic. It can only make us better people to remember.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Camille

    I loved this story! The amount of bravery exuded from such a young lady is quite remarkable. I've read other reviewers upset with Beals for including so much of her religious belief in this story but I believe it was necessary to humanize her. The stories told in this memoir were truly shocking and I felt for young Melba in a very special way. She is truly a hero in my eyes. A highly recommended read! BTW, there was a movie made about Ernest Green's year in Central High that I would highly recommen I loved this story! The amount of bravery exuded from such a young lady is quite remarkable. I've read other reviewers upset with Beals for including so much of her religious belief in this story but I believe it was necessary to humanize her. The stories told in this memoir were truly shocking and I felt for young Melba in a very special way. She is truly a hero in my eyes. A highly recommended read! BTW, there was a movie made about Ernest Green's year in Central High that I would highly recommend to supplement this book.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Mona

    Shortly after the United States Supreme Court prohibited school segregation in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, twelve-year-old Melba signed a list to go to school with white people. Three years later, she got her wish. She was selected with eight other African-American students to attend and integrate Little Rock's Central High School. They became known as the Little Rock Nine. Immediately there were obstacles. Governor Faubus called in the National Guard to surround Central High and preven Shortly after the United States Supreme Court prohibited school segregation in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, twelve-year-old Melba signed a list to go to school with white people. Three years later, she got her wish. She was selected with eight other African-American students to attend and integrate Little Rock's Central High School. They became known as the Little Rock Nine. Immediately there were obstacles. Governor Faubus called in the National Guard to surround Central High and prevent Beals and her friends from entering. An angry white mob of over 1,000 people shouted and grabbed at them. Nineteen days after they first tried to attend school, a period filled with legal wrangling in federal court, they were escorted into Central High by the local police, only to leave early. The next day, President Eisenhower ordered members of the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division to act as their escorts and protection in the hallways of Central High. Once inside the high school, Beals experienced one violent situation after another, at the hands of both her fellow classmates and her teachers. Students hurled obscenities, knocked her books down, pinned her against a wall and tried to choke her during a pep rally, and sprayed acid in her eyes. Teachers and others in positions of authority spat on and slapped her or looked the other way when students were abusing her. Beals and her friends never entered Central High through its main steps as their classmates did, but instead used a side entrance, sometimes leaving the school in armored vehicles or helicopters. As Beals wrote in her diary, "After three full days inside Central, I know that integration is a much bigger word than I thought." In addition to the incidents at school, Beals describes other changes in her life. As a result of her family's very real fears about the white mob and what might happen if she were to leave the house on the weekends, Beals had to spend a lot of time at home. Friends she had before entering Central High became estranged, and she was no longer able to enjoy the activities she once loved. Her life was entirely consumed by integration. Her loving, strong, supportive family and the other Little Rock Nine members became the constants in her life. Despite the many setbacks the Little Rock Nine experienced, a message of hope, dignity, and resilience shines through Beals' memoir. In the end, three members of the Little Rock Nine were able to graduate from Central High School, and the others finished their education elsewhere when the situation in Little Rock became too dangerous. This is an important book and one that should be read by everyone. As important as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks are to the history books, it is also important to remember the struggles that the Little Rock Nine went through to secure access to education. Five stars for both writing and educational value. Highly recommended.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    This is a powerful memoir about one girl's experience during a year of forced integration in Little Rock, Arkansas. I've been reading some of the cases in law school but it is a different thing to hear it from a 15 year old's perspective. Whether or not you agree with the politics, I think this makes for an interesting, thought-provoking read. (Also, I found it so absorbing I had to remind myself that this was Real Life and not fiction so I couldn't be disappointed when my ship died. But dang, L This is a powerful memoir about one girl's experience during a year of forced integration in Little Rock, Arkansas. I've been reading some of the cases in law school but it is a different thing to hear it from a 15 year old's perspective. Whether or not you agree with the politics, I think this makes for an interesting, thought-provoking read. (Also, I found it so absorbing I had to remind myself that this was Real Life and not fiction so I couldn't be disappointed when my ship died. But dang, Liam - sp? - was adorbs.)

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I absolutely LOVED this book! The bravery of the Little Rock nine was an inspiration to me. I had no idea the extent of suffering these kids went through. They are true heroes!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Truly shocking. I couldn't believe all the misery that those kids went through, trying to be the first to integrate Central High in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957. I had always just assumed that once they got inside the school, everything was hunky dory. Not at all. A typical day for Beals involved getting kicked down the stairs, sprayed in the eyes, repeatedly called names, shoved, jabbed, mocked, etc. by other students while teachers turned a blind eye. I don't know how she did it. There were s Truly shocking. I couldn't believe all the misery that those kids went through, trying to be the first to integrate Central High in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957. I had always just assumed that once they got inside the school, everything was hunky dory. Not at all. A typical day for Beals involved getting kicked down the stairs, sprayed in the eyes, repeatedly called names, shoved, jabbed, mocked, etc. by other students while teachers turned a blind eye. I don't know how she did it. There were several times in the book that I honestly thought she should give up because it was too dangerous to continue. I cannot believe she did not become severely depressed and psychologically traumatized from all the abuse. I also did not know that Gov. Faubus CLOSED all the high schools the following year to prevent further integration. If I were Beals I would have been relieved that I didn't have to go to that place of torment anymore, but it was also a way of taking away the victory that the students scored by lasting the entire first year. My aunt and uncle lived briefly in Little Rock and just moved from there last year. It sounds as though racial tensions are still quite high there, fifty years later. When they sold their house, neighbors told them not to sell it to any black people because they didn't want them in the (currently) all-white neighborhood.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Marvin

    That when the WHY is big enough, we can overcome ANY..HOW

  8. 5 out of 5

    Karen Rooff

    I am a historian by academic training, yet I knew precious little about this story. I'd heard of The Little Rock Nine and seen the famous photo of them marching in to Central High. But that's about it. I was blissfully naive about the intensity and extensive length of time these children were bullied by kids and adults alike. I had no idea the governor and state troopers were so awful. Melba's story gives insight into both the high level and daily horrors they faced. I highly recommend this book t I am a historian by academic training, yet I knew precious little about this story. I'd heard of The Little Rock Nine and seen the famous photo of them marching in to Central High. But that's about it. I was blissfully naive about the intensity and extensive length of time these children were bullied by kids and adults alike. I had no idea the governor and state troopers were so awful. Melba's story gives insight into both the high level and daily horrors they faced. I highly recommend this book to both adults and teens. The themes are frighteningly apt for today. Sad but true.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Devastating. It's terrifying to read about huge numbers of adults and children so completely abandoning empathy and common decency, even in a media spotlight and under judicial pressure. They were so committed to their hate. We have so much to atone for, even as we continue to offend. The author's courage in the face of all the abuse is mind-boggling.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Amber Eats Books

    This is a must read for everyone!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kitkat

    I really did like this book because Melba is such a powerful black woman. Melba tells her story how she goes to a school of white racist people who harassed her for her skin color. Melba struggles a lot and is harassed by everyone. I got so angry at everyone for treating her like this because she's a human being. How Melba's grandmother tells her to stop crying because warriors don't cry made me smile. My mom would say the same thing to me and how strong Melba is amazing. Melba goes through so m I really did like this book because Melba is such a powerful black woman. Melba tells her story how she goes to a school of white racist people who harassed her for her skin color. Melba struggles a lot and is harassed by everyone. I got so angry at everyone for treating her like this because she's a human being. How Melba's grandmother tells her to stop crying because warriors don't cry made me smile. My mom would say the same thing to me and how strong Melba is amazing. Melba goes through so much through her life and loses her childhood innocence at such a young age. Melba really is strong independent woman who achieved so much at young age and stood for civil rights. I admire her a lot for her courage and strength.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    This book was very powerful. I had no idea what it was like for the Little Rock 9 to actually do the incredibly hard work to integrate Central High School. This book made me hurt inside for these teenagers.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    This book was recommended to me as a possible model text for the "Making a Difference" unit in my 9th grade class. IT WAS AMAZING and the most ENGAGING book I've read in a long time. I learned so much from this book about the daily lives of Black people living in the midst of the desegregation movement, things that we never hear in news clips and documentaries. My image of the Little Rock desegregation is probably like most people's: soldiers pave the way for some brave kids go to school among w This book was recommended to me as a possible model text for the "Making a Difference" unit in my 9th grade class. IT WAS AMAZING and the most ENGAGING book I've read in a long time. I learned so much from this book about the daily lives of Black people living in the midst of the desegregation movement, things that we never hear in news clips and documentaries. My image of the Little Rock desegregation is probably like most people's: soldiers pave the way for some brave kids go to school among whites. This image couldn't have been more misleading. The daily tortures the Little Rock 9 were subjected to are maddening. Even worse was the need for them to play politics and not only not fight back, but refrain from coming to one another's aid for fear of blurring the lines between attacker and attackee. These kids were amazing and no less than heroes. They literally gave their blood, sweat, and tears... No. Strike that. They gave away their childhoods in order to make better lives for all people, a sacrifice they couldn't have possibly understood at the time they courageously agreed to break the color barrier. The dignity and self-discipline these kids exhibited at such a young age (Melba was only 15) are a lesson to me and anyone else who reads this book. My only disappointment is that my colleague loaned me the abridged version! I can't wait to get my hands on the full text! THIS IS A MUST READ FOR EVERYONE.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Adriana Escamilla

    An innocent teenager. An unexpected hero. In 1957, Melba Pattillo turned sixteen. That was also the year she became a warrior on the front lines of a civil rights firestorm. Following the landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling, Brown v. Board of Education, Melba was one of nine teenagers chosen to integrate Little Rock's Central High School. Throughout her harrowing ordeal, Melba was taunted by her schoolmates and their parents, threatened by a lynch mob's rope, attacked with lighted sticks of dynamite An innocent teenager. An unexpected hero. In 1957, Melba Pattillo turned sixteen. That was also the year she became a warrior on the front lines of a civil rights firestorm. Following the landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling, Brown v. Board of Education, Melba was one of nine teenagers chosen to integrate Little Rock's Central High School. Throughout her harrowing ordeal, Melba was taunted by her schoolmates and their parents, threatened by a lynch mob's rope, attacked with lighted sticks of dynamite, and injured by acid sprayed in her eyes. But through it all, she acted with dignity and courage, and refused to back down. This is her remarkable story. Melba Patillo Beals, who as a teenager in 1957 became a key player in a critical civil rights struggle, has abridged for young readers her affecting adult title Warriors Don't Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock's Central High School. Teaching Ideas: This is a great book to introduce middle or high school students to a unit based around the Civil Rights. It could be used in an ELA classroom or a history classroom. This is also a great book for teaching figurative language, both in analyzing it as a reader and using it as a model as a writer.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Abraham

    This is a great introduction for kids to the school integration part of the civil rights movement. I love how Beals allows us into her teenage world in a way that seems both honest and genuine. We get a view of both her headline-making efforts to integrate Central High and her personal world of a normal teenager (crushes, drama with friends, clashes with family, etc.). It's literally impossible for me to imagine what it would be like to go to school under these conditions. The name "warrior" seem This is a great introduction for kids to the school integration part of the civil rights movement. I love how Beals allows us into her teenage world in a way that seems both honest and genuine. We get a view of both her headline-making efforts to integrate Central High and her personal world of a normal teenager (crushes, drama with friends, clashes with family, etc.). It's literally impossible for me to imagine what it would be like to go to school under these conditions. The name "warrior" seems completely justified. This book makes me both ashamed and fiercely proud to be American. You should read this book if you like to read about triumph over obstacles. I know I would have buckled under the pressure if I had been in Melba's shoes. I wish I could ask the author how she managed to not hate White people for life after something like this. I would love to know more about which, if any, of the Little Rock Nine's tormentors ever publicly atoned for the atrocities they committed against their fellow Americans. That takes courage, too.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kylee Maidhof

    In this book, Melba is chosen to integrate Central High School. She faces many hardships there because of her race. Melba is forced to be extremely brave and courageous as she pushes through her situation. I thought that this book was okay, certain parts were better than others. I liked the idea of sharing this story through the form of a book, but after a while it felt very repetitive. I noticed that sometimes it would bring up an interesting topic, and then it would never go deeper into it. I l In this book, Melba is chosen to integrate Central High School. She faces many hardships there because of her race. Melba is forced to be extremely brave and courageous as she pushes through her situation. I thought that this book was okay, certain parts were better than others. I liked the idea of sharing this story through the form of a book, but after a while it felt very repetitive. I noticed that sometimes it would bring up an interesting topic, and then it would never go deeper into it. I liked the story, but I wish it was written better and in greater detail. I would recommend this book if you are interested in the topic, but otherwise this book might not be for you. It was really a good story, and I really wish it had slowed down a little more often and explained things in better detail.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Syndy

    Melba Patillo beals really does an excellent job of making you feel and vision what the little rock nine experienced. Through all those times they were being mistreated and abused in every possible way due to the complexion of their skin, they never gave up. Ofcourse at times they felt that the conditions were too overwhelming but they never thought that what they were doing was a complete waste and that it wasn't worth it. Yes, integrating Central High would be an impediment. But they were will Melba Patillo beals really does an excellent job of making you feel and vision what the little rock nine experienced. Through all those times they were being mistreated and abused in every possible way due to the complexion of their skin, they never gave up. Ofcourse at times they felt that the conditions were too overwhelming but they never thought that what they were doing was a complete waste and that it wasn't worth it. Yes, integrating Central High would be an impediment. But they were willing to face it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Violet

    Wow, this book was stupid. Don't get me wrong, the story is incredible and filled with so much bravery, but the actual book, yeah that was stupid as hell. She wouldn't stop talking about God which made me uncomfortable and roll my eyes. But the concept that the strongest, most brave heroes around don't cry is absolutely absurd. Cry all the fuck you want, it's your body's natural reaction, but getting up and knowing where to stop crying, that is true strength and bravery.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Vianey Sanchez

    Heart-wrenching. Moving. Important. May we never take for granted the sacrifice of countless people in the quest for civil and human rights.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Although I've read about the Little Rock Nine before, I don't think I've ever read a book written by one of them telling their first-hand experiences. WARRIORS DON'T CRY does this in a way that is honest, approachable, moving, and thought-provoking. Beals' narration, which includes newspaper clippings and her own diary entries, is intimate and very personal. My heart ached for her as I read about how she was yelled at, spit upon, beaten, set on fire, and made to suffer every kind of indignity—fr Although I've read about the Little Rock Nine before, I don't think I've ever read a book written by one of them telling their first-hand experiences. WARRIORS DON'T CRY does this in a way that is honest, approachable, moving, and thought-provoking. Beals' narration, which includes newspaper clippings and her own diary entries, is intimate and very personal. My heart ached for her as I read about how she was yelled at, spit upon, beaten, set on fire, and made to suffer every kind of indignity—from both kids and adults—simply because of the color of her skin. It's incredible that she and the other integrators made it out of Central High alive. I appreciated hearing about the tools that strengthened her through it all, namely her family and her faith. Although WARRIORS DON'T CRY is not an easy book to read, it's important, timely, and informative. I'm glad I read it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

    “Until I am welcomed everywhere as an equal simply because I am human, I remain a warrior on a battlefield that I must not leave. I continue to be a warrior who does not cry but who instead takes action. If one person is denied equality, we are all denied equality.” This made me both cringe at the worst of humanity and cheer at the best of humanity. It’s definitely a heavy read, but I learned so much from Melba’s first-hand experience. I can’t believe what these kids were put through—this was les “Until I am welcomed everywhere as an equal simply because I am human, I remain a warrior on a battlefield that I must not leave. I continue to be a warrior who does not cry but who instead takes action. If one person is denied equality, we are all denied equality.” This made me both cringe at the worst of humanity and cheer at the best of humanity. It’s definitely a heavy read, but I learned so much from Melba’s first-hand experience. I can’t believe what these kids were put through—this was less than 65 years ago. It’s really mind-blowing. I would definitely recommend that everyone read this—I can remember going over this in history class, but obviously not this in-depth. It is very eye-opening.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

    We’ve all seen the pictures of the Little Rock Nine, the one with Elizabeth Eckford with the mobs’ ugly faces behind her, and the one with the nine students surrounded by the 101st airborne escorting them to school. What I hadn’t learned about was why the desegregation was so ugly in Little Rock, or that there were over 1,000 101st airmen there to protect these students, and that they were there for 3 months, and that when they left, it wasn’t because there was acceptance, and it didn’t get any We’ve all seen the pictures of the Little Rock Nine, the one with Elizabeth Eckford with the mobs’ ugly faces behind her, and the one with the nine students surrounded by the 101st airborne escorting them to school. What I hadn’t learned about was why the desegregation was so ugly in Little Rock, or that there were over 1,000 101st airmen there to protect these students, and that they were there for 3 months, and that when they left, it wasn’t because there was acceptance, and it didn’t get any better. I didn’t learn that the next year, 1958, Governor Faubus would rather close EVERY high school in Little Rock than to allow desegregation. It is called the Lost Year, and while most white students were able to find schools elsewhere, 50% of black high schoolers literally lost that year of school. The story was sad, disgusting, and horrifying—and everyone should know about it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Cait

    I don't know if I can rate such a personal story but this book did wonders for my persona learning experience, although much of it was not easy to read about. Trigger Warnings: Racism, harassment, physical assault, attempted rape, ostracization, mobs, threats, shooting, slurs against indigenous Americans, bullying, mention of suicidal thoughts, mention of illness and death of a nanny and death of of a grandmother

  24. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    "In 1957, Melba Pattillo turned sixteen. That was also the year she became a warrior on the front lines of a civil rights firestorm. Following the landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling, Brown v. Board of Education, Melba was one of nine teenagers chosen to integrate Little Rock's Central High School." Growing up during the civil rights movement with its struggles to desegregate the nation's schools, I was acquainted with the story of the "Little Rock Nine," but never knew the inside story until now. "In 1957, Melba Pattillo turned sixteen. That was also the year she became a warrior on the front lines of a civil rights firestorm. Following the landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling, Brown v. Board of Education, Melba was one of nine teenagers chosen to integrate Little Rock's Central High School." Growing up during the civil rights movement with its struggles to desegregate the nation's schools, I was acquainted with the story of the "Little Rock Nine," but never knew the inside story until now. This remarkable memoir brought out the spiritual battle fought by this sixteen year old girl, her family and her supportive community of faith. I was touched by her poignant diary entries and her prayers of supplication, and inspired by her strong faith in God and her Christian example of turning the other cheek in the face of the terrifying persecution and peril of life that she and the other eight African American students faced every day at Central High. "Throughout her harrowing ordeal, Melba was taunted by her schoolmates and their parents, threatened by a lynch mob's rope, attacked with lighted sticks of dynamite, and injured by acid sprayed in her eyes. But through it all, she acted with dignity and courage, and refused to back down." Since those early days the Little Rock Nine have been honored by their school, their state and their nation many times. In 1999 they were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation's highest civilian honor. In 2005 the Little Rock Nine returned to the Arkansas State Capitol to witness the unveiling of statues dedicated to their struggle, and to be celebrated by hundreds. From "Time Brings About a Change: Updating Warriors Don't Cry in 2007" (the author's foreword in the 2007 edition): "On this day many of the people who once scorned us have come to congratulate us for standing our ground, for claiming our equality, for completing that year at Central High School against all odds. ... We nine were oblivious as we examined our younger selves. We were overwhelmed with tears, immersed in the moment, emotionally weeping at the sight of the nine statues, so real, so commanding.... Now we were crying together, grateful we had made it to this moment, alive and celebrating on a spot where we might have been hanged."

  25. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Swastek

    My final book for the semester was Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Beals. Beals was one of the Little Rock Nine that were the first black students to integrate a white school. The novel is somewhat of an autobiography, told from Beals’ perspective and intertwined with diary entries. The story begins with Beals describing living with her mother, who was a teacher, her father, who worked for a railroad company, her grandmother, and her little brother. She provides some examples of racism, but expresse My final book for the semester was Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Beals. Beals was one of the Little Rock Nine that were the first black students to integrate a white school. The novel is somewhat of an autobiography, told from Beals’ perspective and intertwined with diary entries. The story begins with Beals describing living with her mother, who was a teacher, her father, who worked for a railroad company, her grandmother, and her little brother. She provides some examples of racism, but expresses how she never understood it fully. When integration is announced, she signs up to attend the white school, Central High, which she has always dreamed of going to. She does not tell anyone about this and even forgets about signing up until a few months later when she receives a phone call saying that she will be attending Central. She finally convinces her mother to let her go, and the rest of the book discusses the issues and struggles she and the other eight faced. She details the physical and verbal harassment, the threats, some of her protectors, the media attention, and the simple desire to just be able to go to a good school. The book follows her through her first year as a student, and then talks about the futures of the nine including their 30 year reunion at the school. I really enjoyed this book. I must admit I meant to grab the one about the three young girls who end up going to a Black Panther camp, however this book was really good. I did not really read any autobiographies this year (besides An Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian), so I liked the change of pace for my last book. With my interest in teaching in Detroit, a predominantly black city, I think that this is a book I would use in a future classroom. It is really interesting and may appeal to students who aren’t interested in a traditional novel. Also, the fact that she was in high school herself at the time is very interesting and relatable. All of these events also happened, which will provide a reason for its importance for students.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Katherine Wren

    As an Arkansan I grew up learning about The Little Rock Nine, but only with the barest of facts during the month of February. I knew these students were brave. I knew they were chosen on their personal and academic merit. However, until I read this book, I didn't know that integration didn't happen on the first day of the school year or the first day that the students tried to attend. I didn't know the literal life or death danger that the students were in. I knew the incident makes Faubus look As an Arkansan I grew up learning about The Little Rock Nine, but only with the barest of facts during the month of February. I knew these students were brave. I knew they were chosen on their personal and academic merit. However, until I read this book, I didn't know that integration didn't happen on the first day of the school year or the first day that the students tried to attend. I didn't know the literal life or death danger that the students were in. I knew the incident makes Faubus look like an incompetent fool in the eyes of history, but I had no idea that personal guards were assigned to students and then removed at the earliest "convenience". I knew that the students didn't want Melba and her cohorts in the school, but I didn't know that she was spit on and egged and kicked and burned for her attempts to simply go to class. I knew that Minnijean was expelled, but I didn't know why or that she was denied any attempt to join in clubs or to use her beautiful voice. I knew there were nine black students at Little Rock High School in 1957-1958, but I didn't know them as individual persons. Now I do. Now I see the cost that these warriors paid in blood, tears, and trauma. I only learned this year of the resulting Lost Year for Little Rock High Schools. We have got to do better with educating our children and ourselves. This is why I am so glad to be an African American History teacher this year and am dedicated to using only literature by black authors to teach this course. They don't need my voice to teach this class. They have their own voices that are so much more powerful than mine will ever be in this context. The least I can do is serve to facilitate the words of these warriors and icons to my students.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Adrian

    A book club book. I don't usually read books that involve cruelty and violence because I obsess over the images they bring into my head until it keeps me awake at night. I need my sleep. Because of that, I admit to skimming this instead of reading every word. Although the story she tells is one that should be remembered and not forgotten, this is not actually a very good book. At the end she mentions that she became a journalist, and that is how this book is written: as a very long news article. A book club book. I don't usually read books that involve cruelty and violence because I obsess over the images they bring into my head until it keeps me awake at night. I need my sleep. Because of that, I admit to skimming this instead of reading every word. Although the story she tells is one that should be remembered and not forgotten, this is not actually a very good book. At the end she mentions that she became a journalist, and that is how this book is written: as a very long news article. She could have done a lot more with the characters in the story: with her mother, grandmother, brother, Danny, Minnijean, or the other kids at the school with her. Everyone was flat. She also glosses over a lot of the violence and things that were done to her (which is good for me) and just includes summary sentences: the taunts and rage increased, for example. I suppose this could be because there was so much of it every day. She mentions only briefly that a couple of students (excepting the bit about Link) were more friendly, but never went into it: was it just a one time occurrence? Or was there anyone else who was consistently helpful? She says near the beginning that the shorthand teacher provided an 'oasis' of calm, but then later says she had to drop the class because the harassment was so bad. What happened in between there? Again, I admit that I didn't read the whole book word for word - I skimmed each page. It's an important story, but the way it is told could have been better.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kay Hommedieu

    Let's just say that this book was an eye opener for me. I knew of the Little Rock Nine that integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, but I had no idea of the taunts, harassment and outright attempts of their lives that each student suffered. This book by Melba Patillo, one of the nine is her story taken from her diary and her scrapbook of newspaper clippings from the daily paper, the Arkansas Gazette. She also explained the difference between the National Guard ordered by Governor Let's just say that this book was an eye opener for me. I knew of the Little Rock Nine that integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, but I had no idea of the taunts, harassment and outright attempts of their lives that each student suffered. This book by Melba Patillo, one of the nine is her story taken from her diary and her scrapbook of newspaper clippings from the daily paper, the Arkansas Gazette. She also explained the difference between the National Guard ordered by Governor Faubus and the 101st Airborne Division ordered by President Eisenhower. The former ordered by Faubus were to protect the white students and teachers and didn't give a whit about the students who were integrating even though they were ones whose lives were endangered. The 101st Airborne ordered by the president were there to protect the nine, but they weren't there long. Melba expressed real appreciation for this Division because there was a soldier assigned to each student and there were about 50 altogether at the school. The group of nine became close because they gathered together before they went to school so they could ride together. They also met after school to study together. Many of these meetings were at the home of Mrs. Daisy Bates, president of the NAACP of Little Rock. To be updated later; 8/13/2017.

  29. 5 out of 5

    carolina

    This book needs to be read by everyone. Melba, thank you for being brave, once again, and writing this book. If y'all don't know who the Little Rock Nine is, then let me tell you; the little rock nine are nine people of colored who went to Little Rock Central High, a white school, and made it an integrated school. This is a big moment in U.S History, and it should be acknowledged by everyone. We learn about this moment in class, but by reading this book, we're in the school with Melba and her ot This book needs to be read by everyone. Melba, thank you for being brave, once again, and writing this book. If y'all don't know who the Little Rock Nine is, then let me tell you; the little rock nine are nine people of colored who went to Little Rock Central High, a white school, and made it an integrated school. This is a big moment in U.S History, and it should be acknowledged by everyone. We learn about this moment in class, but by reading this book, we're in the school with Melba and her other friends. In this book, you see the cruel racism Melba faced as an INFANT and a child. You grow with her and feel her pain through the words written in this book. She includes her own statements that were made during the first year of integration and how it took away her teen social life. Guys, there is racism in this book, which is seen as obvious. We see racism a lot through social media, but reading about Melba's experience is still scary. You'll find yourself worried about her own safety as she was when the events took place. I shed many tears of disbelief, grief, and joy. You must pick this book up and read it immediately. Please acknowledge these brave warriors who helped the civil rights moment that changed the United States of America.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    I've always been so intrigued by and in awe of the Little Rock 9 and all their achievements throughout their lives. This was by no means an easy read, emotionally. So much cruelty was inflicted on them not only by their peers but their own community, their neighbours, their teachers, the National Guard, the Governor of Arkansas, Police officers who threw their badges down and rioted against integration. All these kids wanted was an education that would help them achieve their goals and in trying I've always been so intrigued by and in awe of the Little Rock 9 and all their achievements throughout their lives. This was by no means an easy read, emotionally. So much cruelty was inflicted on them not only by their peers but their own community, their neighbours, their teachers, the National Guard, the Governor of Arkansas, Police officers who threw their badges down and rioted against integration. All these kids wanted was an education that would help them achieve their goals and in trying to obtain that they lost their innocence, their chance at a normal teenage experience and still bear physical scars to this day. This book also really hammered home how many older citizens are lying about where they stood on segregation when they were younger. Everyone wants to be the hero who stood up for the oppressed but this book is a stark reminder that those who did so were so, so rare. It's more likely that a lot of people with parents or grandparents in the south were inflicting cruelty on minorities. Every time I thought the worst of the attacks at the school had been carried out, they got worse. Many times, like Melba, when someone showed her kindness it was a huge blow when they turned out to be horrible and a huge surprise when they were kind. I really hate that the Little Rock 9 are having to see the Trump years. They've been through enough.

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