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Warrior's Don'T Cry

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Beals, Melba Pattillo. Warriors Don't Cry. First Washington Square

Press trade paperback printing February 1994. Washington

Square Press Publication of Pocket Books, a division of Simon& Schuster Inc. New York, NY.

Melba Pattillo Beals- A junior when she entered Central High School, Melba did a lot of growing up that year. With the Supreme Court overturning their decision, the same day of that decision, on her way home from school she was attacked and almost raped. She endured a lot of harassment that year. She got her heels stepped on between every class and was singed by the water when she tried to shower after gym class. She had all her clothes sprayed on by ink and she got her eyes sprayed with acid which caused her to have to wear glasses. That same year she lived through what was supposed to be the happiest time of a girls live. She got her first boyfriend and had her first date, but all she could ever think about was how she was going to make it through her next day. Although eventually she did happen to make a friend (Link) that helped her by telling her places to avoid, he could not be seen in public with her. That year Melba turned 16 and though that year she had nobody attend her party due to the fact that they were scared to come over to her house due to all the bomb threats everybody especially the Little Rock Nine were receiving. Everyday became a struggle for Melba, she woke-up, got dressed and went to school were she tried to make herself not seen to avoid the harassment, then she had to give interviews to reporters (which she had determined that that was her future job), and then went home to an endless ringing phone from threats or plain old hang ups. That year she had to due without a lot of the teenage things, once her friend Minnijean was expelled, she had no one to talk to, at home or at school. After that terrible year Melba spent at Central, she did not return there for her senior year. Instead, she went to stay at the home of Dr. George McCabe and his wife Carol in the Santa Rosa, California.

Dr. Lois Peyton Pattillo (Mother Lois)-Giving birth to a sick baby the same day that Pearl Harbor was bombed started the life of Melba Pattillo Beals. Mother Lois was one of the first African American to integrate the University of Arkansas where she received her master's in education. She worked as a seventh grade English teacher and was the main source of income for her family. Her husband worked at the Missouri Pacific Railroad as a hostler's helper but they divorced when Melba was only 5. Besides Melba, she had two other people to support, Melba's brother Conrad and her mother Grandma India. Although Grandma India earned some money cleaning white people's houses, this was not a big part to the family's income. With Melba's decision to be one of the first to integrate Central High School, Mother Lois's job was in jeopardy. When her contract came up for renewing, they told her that it would not be renewed unless Melba dropped out of Central High School. Help from the community Bishop, Mother Lois was finally offered her job back, after several weeks of no money and nowhere to turn for help. After the hardest year for that family, Mother Lois, unlike her daughter, stayed in Little Rock to raise her son Conrad.

India Anette Peyton (Grandma India)-She watched two people close to her be vulnerable to physical pain, just to help the future generations. She watched and supported Mother Lois integrate the University of Alabama and Melba integrate Central High School. She stayed at home and help support the family in their times of need. She always had a comment that would make everything seem not so important in the long run. She always kept the Lord's name close at heart and let nobody forget it. She stayed up nights protecting the house and scaring away would be assailants. Although she never graduated from school, Grandma India helped Melba be a better student by reading to her and keeping her mind in the right track. Without her support and guidance to keep everybody sane, the year Melba spent in Central would have been the last for the family.

Warriors Don't Cry:

The era of the 1950's was a time where African Americans were not allowed to use the same public facilities as whites. This book, Warrior's Don't Cry, takes place in this era. The doctrine of "separate but equal" facilities had just been overruled. Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka Kansas just set a new precedent that would integrate schools on May 17, 1954. In the book you go through the time period in which those nine students were sent into Central High School not knowing what to expect and barely coming out of there alive. Their first year (1957-1958) in Central High School was a time for growing for those nine students. The book deals with all the problems the US had with the citizens accepting the civil right laws that were changing and what they had to do to make things work out. At the end, they give you a 30 year look back upon what impacts that year had on those nine individuals that gave away their teenage years of happiness to help the country deal with that problem.


The book Warriors Don't Cry written and experienced by Melba Pattillo Beals describes the story of the first nine African American students to attend the solely white Central High School. When the Supreme Court overturned their ruling on Plessy v. Ferguson, stating that "separate but equal" schools were not constitutional this started the process of integrating the schools. When nine students, Melba Pattillo Beals (junior), Minnijean Brown (junior), Carlotta Walls, Gloria Ray, Elizabeth Eckford, Jefferson Thomas, Terrence Roberts, Ernest Green (senior), and Thelma Mothershed were chosen (they also volunteered by signing up for this task) for their grades as well as their enrollment to their prior school, everything thing seemed in place.

With the arrival of the first day of school came, the nine of them had met previously to decide that it would be better if they came in as a group and not alone. That day governor Faubus had ordered the Arkansas's National Guard to not allow the process of integration to continue. That morning Melba and her mother were not able to find their group, once they were denied entrance to the school by the National Guards, they were left facing an angry mob that was waiting to stop the "Negroes" from entering their school at any cost. This was only the first day they attempted to come in. When finally allowed to enter the school (only


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