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Warriors Don't Cry

Warriors Don’t Cry

Melba Pattillo Beals

Warriors Don’t Cry, Melba Pattillo Beals, is emotional, informative, and a cold splash of the reality of the past. 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 and entering the school of Little Rock. 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. 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. 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 even the 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, and the vigilante stalkers.

Melba Patillo Beals was one of the nine 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. It showed the true darkness of the country at the time. The fear, emotion, and doubt the book takes you through is a raw reality. This is a powerful memoir about one girl's experience during a year of forced integration in Little Rock, Arkansas. Yes, you can read these stories in textbook, or even with just a google search. But, the story is such 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 that not only tells you about the history but also a new perspective of a dark time.

Grade Level:

- Suggested: 7th-11th

- Advanced: 6th

- Genre: Non-fiction

- Key Elements: Little Rock, segregation, integration

- Possible Themes: Racism

Overall Rating: 5/5

Happy Reading!

-The Book Lover-

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