The Power of One: Daisy Bates and the Little Rock Nine

Overview

The life of civil rights leader Daisy Bates is vividly detailed in this stirring new biography by an acclaimed husband-wife team. Throughout her life, Daisy Bates worked tirelessly for civil rights as an activist, journalist, and organizer. She first captured national attention as the mentor of the nine black students who integrated Central High School in Little Rock in 1957. During this crisis President Dwight Eisenhower was forced to use federal troops to insure the admission of the students, who became known ...

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Overview

The life of civil rights leader Daisy Bates is vividly detailed in this stirring new biography by an acclaimed husband-wife team. Throughout her life, Daisy Bates worked tirelessly for civil rights as an activist, journalist, and organizer. She first captured national attention as the mentor of the nine black students who integrated Central High School in Little Rock in 1957. During this crisis President Dwight Eisenhower was forced to use federal troops to insure the admission of the students, who became known as the Little Rock Nine. In 1999, just hours after her funeral, President Bill Clinton bestowed the Congressional Gold Medal on the Little Rock Nine, and two years later Daisy Bates was honored by a state holiday in Arkansas.
In this noteworthy companion to their other distinguished biographies of African Americans, Dennis and Judith Fradin have drawn upon a trove of archival material including papers, correspondence, and photographs of her life and work. They also interviewed some of her living relatives and members of the Little Rock Nine. The result is a compelling, inspiring book about the courage and determination of one woman in the face of prejudice and intolerance. Endnotes, bibliography, index.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Hard-hitting account...readers will come away with...clear-eyed appreciation for the Little Rock Nine's characters and accomplishments." KIRKUS REVIEWS, Starred Kirkus Reviews, Starred

"Scrupulously documented storytelling and poignant journalistic photos sharply evoke the experiences of the beleaguered Nine and their mentor" BOOKLIST Booklist, ALA

" An outstanding and passionate biography...powerful photos...
compelling...clearly demonstates that one person can indeed make a difference." SLJ, starred School Library Journal, Starred

Children's Literature
This excellent biography of Daisy Bates, the catalyst behind the integration of the Little Rock, Arkansas, public schools, shines with detail. The Fradins begin with a short overview of Daisy Bates's considerable contributions to the Civil Rights Movement and a first chapter which plunges young readers right into Bates's battle to commit to the cause. As a result, in the late summer days of 1957, her young high school age charges would integrate Central High School as "The Little Rock Nine." The text marshals detail from numerous interview and printed sources and puzzles together Bates's early life, her marriage to her longtime companion L. C. Bates, and her involvement with his black newspaper, the Arkansas State Press. The rise and eventual fall of the press because of white pressure is a moving story on its own and a measurement of the insidious racism that worked throughout the white community. The high-school children emerge as people in their own right, as well, and readers can see "what happened next" in a quick fast forward that tells where they went to college and their later occupations. The network of Civil Rights workers is clearly drawn here: Martin Luther King came to the graduation of Ernest Green, the first black graduate of Central High. Jackie Robinson, now retired, spoke with the group by telephone; other notables supported the high schoolers and Daisy Bates. Well-chosen black and white photos of Daisy Bates, the high school students, the day of the students' entry into school "helped" by the National Guardsmen, segregation evidence from the times, the notes and bricks thrown through her window, cartoons by Bill Mauldin, and of the elderly Bates carrying an Olympictorch in 1996, are a moving tribute to her courage in leading. This is an important and well executed book and a valuable contribution to young people's knowledge of the history of civil rights. 2005, Clarion, Ages 10 to 14.
—Susan Hepler, Ph.D.
VOYA
The Fradins tell the story of Daisy Bates, who grew up in Arkansas during some of the most heinous years of discrimination in this country. Daisy experienced firsthand the unfair treatment by white citizens after learning from her adoptive parents that her birth mother was brutally murdered by a white man who had never been charged or convicted of the crime. Daisy decided early in her life that she would change the way her people were treated, especially in the south. With the help of her father, Daisy turned her hatred of white people into sympathy for their ignorance, and set her life in motion to change the status quo. Becoming a journalist and eventually the leader of the Arkansas NAACP, Daisy helped install African American students into Central High School in Arkansas. She consulted with national leaders and helped to set policy that would lead toward more equal treatment of African Americans. The Fradins' narrative helps the reader see and feel Daisy's struggle. They do a great service to students by writing about someone whose life had such importance, who was just as vigilant as her contemporaries who perished, and whose life was lived long enough to really change the world. VOYA CODES: 3Q 2P M J (Readable without serious defects; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2004, Clarion, 178p.; Index. Photos. Biblio. Source Notes., $19. Ages 11 to 15.
—Jessica Mize
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-With the aid of archival photographs, meticulous research, and primary-source material, the Fradins have created an outstanding and passionate biography of a civil rights leader who gained prominence as the mentor of the nine African-American students who integrated Central High School in Little Rock in 1957. Raised in rural Arkansas by adoptive parents, Bates experienced early on the insults and humiliation associated with segregation. When she learned that her mother had been raped and killed (probably by white men who were never tried for the crime), her father urged her to not hate white people, but to hate the humiliation that African Americans lived with, and to do something about it. She and her husband, L. C. Bates, published the Arkansas State Press, which offered national and local news for African Americans with an emphasis on civil rights matters. The majority of the book focuses on the Little Rock Nine and Bates's tireless fight (in the face of numerous death threats) to help the teens stand up to hate and insults. The authors capture the drama of this fight through interviews from surviving members of the group and newspaper articles from the time. Powerful photos of the federal troops called in by President Eisenhower and of white students jeering at the African Americans help readers to understand the terror of the situation. This compelling biography clearly demonstrates that one person can indeed make a difference.-Jennifer Ralston, Harford County Public Library, Belcamp, MD Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The Fradins continue to chronicle the brutalities and triumphs of the struggle for civil rights with this hard-hitting account of the stubborn campaign to integrate Little Rock's Central High School. Bates, journalist and head of the NAACP's local chapter, organized and led the team that supported the nine (initially ten) intrepid teenagers who braved relentless harassment, and worse, from students and mobs on up to Arkansas' now-infamous Governor Faubus. Based both on published memoirs and many interviews with eyewitnesses and relatives, the authors reconstruct Bates's career, from early years with protective foster parents (her birth father having fled after her birth mother's rape and murder probably by whites) and marriage to a newspaperman, to her role in one of the Civil Rights Movement's watershed campaigns. They also trace her later, quieter years, as well as those of the nine students. Readers will come away with a clear view of life in the segregated Deep South, a feeling for the appalling level of fear and hatred that civil rights workers faced, and a clear-eyed appreciation for the Little Rock Nine's characters and accomplishments. (notes, black-and-white news photos, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction. 11-15)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618315567
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 12/28/2004
  • Pages: 192
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 1110L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Dennis Brindell Fradin is the author of many books for young readers, including the well-received SAMUEL ADAMS: THE FATHER OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE and, with coauthor and wife Judith Bloom Fradin, IDA B. WELLS: MOTHER OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT. He lives in Evanston, Illinois.

Judith Bloom Fradin has collaborated with Dennis Brindell Fradin

on several award-winning books for young readers, includinng Fight On! Mary Church Terrell's Battle for Integration, selected as one of 2004's Best Books for Young Adults among other honors. The Fradins live in Evanston, Illinois

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Table of Contents

Introduction: "The Bravest Woman I Have Ever Known" xi
1 "The Next Will Be Dynamite" 1
2 "Niggers Have to Wait" 7
3 "Who Killed My Mother?" 17
4 "Hate Can Destroy You, Daisy" 25
5 Birth of the Arkansas State Press 35
6 "Do Something" 41
7 "There Must Be Some Place in America" 53
8 "You Will Refrain from Calling Me Daisy" 57
9 "Daisy, Daisy, Did You Hear the News?" 65
10 "They're In!" 77
11 "Some Victory!" 89
12 "See You Later, Integrator!" 99
13 "Follow in Your Footsteps" 115
14 "We Made It" 127
15 "To Rid Our Nation of the Evils of Segregation" 135
16 The Power of One 145
Source Notes 161
Bibliography 170
Picture Credits 172
Index 173
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