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

( 19 )


Drawn from personal diaries, Warriors Don't Cry is the riveting true story of Melba Beals's experience as one of the first nine black teenagers chosen to integrate the Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, 1957.

Melba Patillo Beals was one of nine black teenagers chosen to integrate Little Rock, Arkansas's Central High School in 1957. For Melba and her friends it marked their transformation into reluctant warriors--on a battlefield that helped shape the ...

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Drawn from personal diaries, Warriors Don't Cry is the riveting true story of Melba Beals's experience as one of the first nine black teenagers chosen to integrate the Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, 1957.

Melba Patillo Beals was one of nine black teenagers chosen to integrate Little Rock, Arkansas's Central High School in 1957. For Melba and her friends it marked their transformation into reluctant warriors--on a battlefield that helped shape the civil rights movement. Warriors Don't Cry is their riveting story. Optioned by Disney for a feature film.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The author was one of nine black teenagers who in 1957 integrated their high school despite violent retaliation. Aug.
Library Journal
Beals, one of the "Little Rock Nine'' and a former NBC reporter, writes movingly of desegregating Little Rock's Central High School in 1957-58. Using diaries and contemporary media coverage, she re-creates a time of fear and tenaciously held hopes. The horrors the nine black students faced are told in a teenager's voice, simply and sadly. Robbed of normal adolescence, Beals grew up fast. Her gratitude to the 101st Airborne for their protection stands in stark contrast to her bewilderment over the behavior of Governor Faubus and school officials, who refused to enforce even rudimentary discipline to prevent the daily torture. Beals credits family and friends, along with Daisy Bates, the late Thurgood Marshall, and the press, for their support. Though her use of "re-created'' conversations does not always work, this remains a highly readable tale of courage in the face of persecution that deserves to be read, especially by young people. School libraries should consider, and all libraries with strong black history collections will want to purchase. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/94.]-Donna L. Cole, Leeds P.L., Ala.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Beals, one of the nine black students who integrated Central High School in Little Rock, AR, in 1957, tells an incredible story of faith, family love, friendships, and strong personal commitment. Drawing from the diaries she kept, the author easily puts readers in her saddle oxfords as she struggles against those people in both the white and black communities who would have segregation continue. Her prose does not play on the sympathy of readers; it simply tells it like it happened. She shares the physical, mental, and emotional torture and abuse she suffered at the hands of teenagers and adults. She also shares the support, the encouragement, and the help she received from both whites and blacks. While the book's length may discourage younger readers, those who begin it will find the reading easy and fast. This abridgement of the author's 1994 adult title of the same name is fascinating as well as enlightening and honest.-Valerie Childress, J.W. Holloway Middle School, Whitehouse, TX
From the Publisher
"Beals, one of the nine black students who integrated Central High School in Little Rock, AR, in 1957, tells an incredible story of faith, family love, friendships, and strong personal commitment." —-School Library Journal
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781452604947
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/14/2011
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged CD
  • Sales rank: 1,055,300
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 6.50 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Melba Patillo Beals earned a bachelor's degree from San Franciso State University and a graduate degree from Columbia University and worked as a reporter for NBC. Warriors Don't Cry was an ALA Notable Book for 1995 and won the 1995 Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Book Award. Lisa Renee Pitts is an award-winning actress in theater, television, and film, as well as an accomplished audiobook narrator. She has been seen Off-Broadway, in Europe, and in regional theaters across the United States, performing leading roles in such prominent plays as A Raisin in the Sun, Doubt, Waiting forLefty, Valley Song, and Our Town. Her television appearances include The Shield and Law and Order, and she played the recurring role of Allison Sawyer on the hit family drama Lincoln Heights for the ABC Family Channel. Lisa's audiobook titlesinclude biographies, fiction, nonfiction and children's novels, including Pushkin and the Queen of Spades by Alice Randall, for which she won an AudioFile Earphones Award for excellence in narration. Other notable titles are Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza, Better Than I Know Myself by Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant, and My Name Is Not Angelica by Scott O'Dell. Lisa is a graduate of Rutgers University, where she received her

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First Chapter

Chapter One

My grandmother India always said God had pointed a finger at our family, asking for just a bit more discipline, more praying, and more hard work because he had blessed us with good health and good brains. My mother was one of the first few blacks to integrate the University of Arkansas, graduating in 1954. Three years later, when Grandma discovered I would be one of the first blacks to attend Central High School, she said the nightmare that had surrounded my birth was proof positive that destiny had assigned me a special task.

First off, I was born on Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 1941. Mother says while she was giving birth to me, there was a big uproar, with the announcement that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. She remembers how astonished she was, and yet her focus was necessarily on the task at hand. There was trouble with my delivery because Mom was tiny and I was nine pounds. The doctor used forceps to deliver me and injured my scalp. A few days later, I fell ill with a massive infection. Mother took me to the white hospital, which reluctantly treated the families of black men who worked on the railroad. A doctor operated to save my life by inserting a drainage system beneath my scalp.

Twenty-four hours later I wasn't getting better. Whenever Mother sought help, neither nurses nor doctors would take her seriously enough to examine me. Instead, they said, "Just give it time."

Two days after my operation, my temperature soared to 106 and I started convulsing. Mother sent for the minister to give me the last rites, and relatives were gathering to say farewell.

That evening, while Grandmother sat in my hospital room, rocking me backhave as a second-class citizen." Instead, the humiliating expectations and traditions of segregation creep over you, slowly stealing a teaspoonful of your self-esteem each day.

By the time I was four years old, I was asking questions neither my mother nor grandmother cared to answer. "Why do the white people write Colored on all the ugly drinking fountains, the dingy restrooms, and the back of the buses? When will we get our turn to be in charge?" Grandma India would only say, "In God's time. Be patient, child, and tell God all about it."

I remember sitting on the dining room floor, writing letters to God in my Indian Head tablet. I painstakingly formed the alphabet just as Grandma had taught me to do in order to distract me from my asthma cough. I could do the multiplication table through ten and read and write simple sentences by the age of four as a result of all those long nights working with her.

When I was five, I had my first true bout with testing the harsh realities of segregation. My family -- Grandmother, Mother, Daddy, and my brother, Conrad, plus most of my aunts and uncles -- had gathered at Fair Park for a Fourth of July picnic. As usual we were separated from the white people, set apart in a wooded section away from the pool and the merry-go-round. While the grownups busied themselves setting up the meal, I made my escape, sneaking away to ride the merry-go-round. I had had my eye on one horse in particular, Prancer, the one I had dreamed about during all those months as I saved up the five pennies I needed to ride him.

I reached up to give the concessionaire my money. "There's no space for you here," the man said. But I pointed to Prancer's empty saddle. That's wh en he shouted at me and banged hard on the counter, spilling my coins on the ground. "You don't belong here, picaninny." I didn't know what that word meant. But his growling voice hurt my ears and made my knees shake. Angry faces glared at me as though I'd done something terribly wrong. Scurrying past the people waiting in line, I was so terrified that I didn't even take the time to pick up my precious pennies. At five I learned that there was to be no space for me on that merry-go-round no matter how many saddles stood empty.

As a young child, my life was centered around the big, old, white wood-frame house at 1121 Cross Street that was my home. I lived there with my mother, Lois; her mother, my grandmother India; my father, Howell; and my brother, Conrad. Seven red cement stairs led up to the front door. A giant rubber plant stood just inside the front hallway next to tall mahogany bookcases that held the cherished volumes of Shakespeare, Chaucer, and Emily Dickinson, and of James Welden Johnson and Langston Hughes that Grandma and Mother loved so much. Some of the shelves held the textbooks Mother used for teaching seventh-grade English and for the night classes she took to get her master's degree.

Next came the living room with its tattered, overstuffed green velvet chair and matching couch. The half-moonshaped radio with brass knobs sat on a round mahogany table. Wine-colored leather chairs stood on either side. Great-grandma Ripley's clock and a copper horse that had belonged to Great-grandpa rested on the mantel over the fireplace.

The kitchen had a huge old-fashioned stove, a red chrome-trimmed breakfast table and chairs, bright yellow walls, and a linoleum floor with visible m arks of wear and tear. Grandma could usually be found scrubbing it sparkling clean or baking cornbread, simmering collard greens, or preparing her special gourmet salmon soufflé. She had learned to cook some of her fancy dishes when she worked as a maid in white ladies' kitchens on Park Hill.

For as long as I can remember, I spent late afternoons with Grandma India in her garden, tending her four o'clock plants. I would stand beside her holding on to her skirt as she pulled the weeds or held the water hose. That's when we had our private talks. Once when I was six or so, I explained to her that I believed each human being was really only a spirit -- made by God, and that our bodies were like clothes hanging in the closet. I said I thought that one day I would be able to exchange my body for a white body, and then I could be in charge.

"Some of your thinking is right, child. We are not these bodies, we are spirits, God's ideas. But you must strive to be the best of what God made you. You don't want to be white, what you really want is to be free, and freedom is a state of mind."

"Yes, ma'am, but..."

"I hope you haven't told anyone else about spirits and bodies." She squeezed my hand. "Well, have you?"

"No, ma'am."

"Good. It's time you started keeping a diary so's you can write down these thoughts and share them with me sometimes, but mostly keep them to yourself and tell God."

The next time she went to town she brought me a pink diary that I could lock with a little key. Most evenings before sleeping, I looked forward to going to my bedroom to write to God.

My room was a place for my stuffed animals to live and a home for my huge brown Raggedy Ann doll, the one Grandma In dia made for me. It was a magical place where I daydreamed for hours as I listened to music or radio shows. There I could be whoever I wanted; I could be white -- I could be free.

My brother, Conrad's, bedroom was filled with strange trucks, glass jars of crawly bugs, and a wooden train Daddy made for him. Conrad spent lots of time counting marbles, putting puzzles together, and playing Monopoly. His room always seemed to be cluttered with pieces and parts of things, and Daddy would often march into Conrad's room and demand that he put all his toys and trucks back into the red wooden box they had built together.

Daddy worked for the Missouri Pacific Railroad as a hostler's helper. He would arrive home, his huge muscular body obviously tired from the physical labor of his job. Mother constantly reminded him that if he'd finish just one more course, he could graduate from college and have a professional job that paid more. But he resisted, saying he preferred to work outside in the fresh air, where he was free. He loved hunting and fishing and getting away to the wilds where nobody could bother him. It made Mother very angry that he wouldn't follow her advice. I worried they might do what my friend Carolyn's parents did -- get a divorce.

The dining room with its big oval table was the place we gathered each night for dinner and evening games. Daddy sat in the brown leather chair, reading his newspaper and working his crossword puzzles. Grandma entertained us with reading or checkers and chess so we wouldn't bother Mother as she studied for her night-school exams. She was determined to complete her master's degree.

With the passage of time, I became increasingly aware of how all of the adults around me were living with constant fear and apprehension. It felt as though we always had a white foot pressed against the back of our necks. I was feeling more and more vulnerable as I watched them continually struggle to solve the mystery of what white folks expected of them. They behaved as though it were an awful sin to overlook even one of those unspoken rules and step out of "their place," to cross some invisible line. And yet lots of discussions in my household were about how to cross that line, when to cross that line, and who could cross that invisible line without getting hurt.

There were so many times when I felt shame, and all the hope drained from my soul as I watched the adults in my family kowtow to white people. Whenever we shopped at the grocery store, they behaved as though they were worried about something.

The grocer, tall, skinny Mr. Waylan, with his Adam's apple sticking out above his collar, his fish-belly blue-white skin and oversized fingernails, was the white man I saw most often. At least twice a week, I would accompany one or more of the adults in my family to his store.

Mr. Waylan's store was one of my favorite places because going there was sometimes like going to a neighborhood party. Mostly our people shopped there, although a few whites from a nearby neighborhood came there, too. There was sawdust on the floor, and the air was filled with the aroma of spices, fruits, onions, nuts, and potatoes. Maybe it was the festive colors and sounds that reminded me of a party.

Early one Friday evening, when the store was crowded, our entire family went in for a shopping spree. We had Mama's teaching check, Daddy's railroad check, and the money Grandma India h ad earned from her work as a maid. It was one of those times when we all felt joy and peace and lots of hope. I looked forward to the bill paying because the grocer sometimes rewarded Conrad and me with Sugar Daddy suckers after the grown-ups handed over the money.

Grandma was the first to look over Mr. Waylan's bill. Her forehead wrinkled; she mumbled and handed it to Daddy. He looked it over. By the time Mother examined the bill, all their faces were grim. They quickly moved Conrad and me with them to a corner of the store.

They were certain the bill overcharged them by twenty-two dollars. That was more than a day's pay, Daddy said. Still, they seemed frightened to speak up. After lots of whispered angry words, they decided to complain. Although Grandma approached the grocer in a calm, respectful way, he shouted back at her in an angry voice -- loud enough for everyone within a block to hear. He said he gave us credit when we didn't have eating money, so he expected us to pay without complaining.

Seeing Daddy's jaw tighten and his eyes narrow, Grandma touched his hand to stay him. There was an ominous silence in the store. Everybody was staring at us. Other people in the store, some of them our friends, stood absolutely still, fear in their eyes.

At first Mother, Grandma, and Daddy stood paralyzed. Then Mother took a deep breath, stepped forward, and said in a commanding voice, "Even when we're being overcharged?"

"You just watch your mouth or you'all will be eating beans next month." The grocer was shaking his fist at Mother Lois. There was fire in Daddy's eyes, but once again Grandma looked at him and he backed down; the three of them cowered like children before a chastising pare nt. There was a long moment of complete silence. All at once Grandma started to pull dollars out of her purse and Daddy did the same. Together, they paid the full amount.

Mama quickly shoved Conrad and me out the door. We'd make do with what was in our cupboards for the next few days, Daddy said. We wouldn't be going to that store anymore.

On the way home Grandma fussed and fumed, saying she was fed up with buying day-old bread and slightly rotting meat for one and a half times the price fresh food was sold to white folks. I couldn't stop wondering why Mama, Grandma, and Daddy couldn't talk back to that white man.

Daddy was a tall man, over six feet four, with broad shoulders and big muscles in his arms. He could toss me in the air and catch me or hoist me over the fence with ease. Until that moment, I had thought he could take on the world, if he had to protect me. But watching him kowtow to the grocer made me know it wasn't so. It frightened me and made me think a lot about how, if I got into trouble with white people, the folks I counted on most in my life for protection couldn't help me at all. I was beginning to resign myself to the fact that white people were definitely in charge, and there was nothing we could do about it.

The next day Grandma called all her friends and tried to get them to agree to form a group to shop across town. All but one person warned her not to cause trouble. After she had dialed at least ten numbers, she sank down into her chair and sat silent for a long while. Then she picked up her Bible and read aloud the verse that cleared away the tears in her eyes: "And Ethiopia shall stretch forth her wings." With a smile on her face and fire in her eyes she said, "Be patient, our people's turn will come, You'll see. Your lifetime will be different from mine. I might not live to see the changes, but you will....Oh, yes, my child, you will."

But as time passed without significant changes in my life, I was becoming increasingly anxious waiting for Ethiopia to stretch forth her wings. In my diary I wrote:

What if Grandma is wrong? -- what if God can't fix things. What if the white people are always gonna be in charge. God, now, please give me some sign you are there and you are gonna do something to change my life. Please hurry!
-- Melba Pattillo, age eight, a Sunday school student

Copyright © 1995 by Melba Beals

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 19 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 19 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2010

    A review in the eye of a student

    The integration of Little Rock's Central High School was a difficult and treacherous battle for the Nine African-Americans that took that huge step for the moving forward of integration. Throughout reading Beals' awe-inspiring memoir of the first year at Central High, she speaks of the daily torment and abuse she lives through everyday. Whether she is sprayed in the eyes with acid, escaping a torture chamber of a bathroom, or dodging a lighted stick of dynamite, Melba Pattillo Beals proves herself to be a warrior. "During my junior year in high school, I lived at the center of a violent civil rights conflict." (Beals pg. 1) Melba Pattillo was a young African-American girl, who was one of the nine brave African-Americans who would help America take another step forward to end segregation. Her tear-jerking memoir reveals her first year in Arkansas' Central High school of Little Rock. Through her book, the reader can join Melba on her riveting first year. While reading the memoir "Warriors Don't Cry" The reader is able to experience the hardships that little Melba had gone through during her first year at Central High such as, " 'bombs away!' " (Pg 164) Melba has entered the restroom and has locked herself in the stall, while girls on the outside push to keep her inside, "I looked up too see a flaming paper wad coming right down on me. 'We'll burn you alive girl'." (Pg. 164) Melba had been savagely attacked, and almost caught fire several times, but after that day she learned to use the bathroom before she came to school. Beals does an amazing job of describing and truly portraying her feelings through her writing. She has a talent of communicating her thoughts and feelings. Although reading "Warriors don't cry" is sometimes difficult and one may want to put the book down, because many parts can get sad at times like the part in the book where Melba is sprayed with acid in the eyes, and almost loses sight in both eyes. "The sudden pain in my eyes was so intense, so sharp, I thought I'd die." (Pg. 173) But the reader is still able to relate to the main character, Melba. The best part was learning how this young woman could over come any and every obstacle that came her way, "I ducked down quickly to avoid a hard white object whizzing past my head.It was a golf ball wrapped in paper...'It's just beautiful. Thank-you.'" (Pg. 259) Melba learned that to control her temper and prevent a potential fight she must always be polite and remember her manners. She decided by saying 'thank-you' and 'oh how nice of you' the white kids would lose the pleasure in making her miserable. This book has inspired many, and also helped people to overcome and deal with life's obstacles. The integration of Little Rock's Central High School was a difficult and treacherous battle for Melba Patillo and the eight other African-Americans that took that huge step for the moving forward of integration. Throughout reading Beals' awe-inspiring memoir of her first year at the once all white Central High School she speaks of the daily torment and abuse she has to live through. Even when she is sprayed in the eyes with acid, escaping a torture chamber of a bathroom, or dodging a lighted stick of dynamite, Melba Pattillo Beals proves herself to be a warrior.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2010

    Great Book!

    This is one of the best books that I have read. Warriors don't cry, by Melba Pattio Beals, is a real story about Beal as a young girl who was chosen to integrate Little Rock's Central High due to the Brown Vs. Board of Education case, but I would say her story is most likely much sadder than the other nine who were also chosen. She goes through many harsh things in her life such as name calling, almost getting raped, getting beat up, and lots of other struggles just cause of racial discrimination back then, yet she is still so perseverant, courageous, and outstanding. It makes me wonder if I was exactly the same person I am, but if I was born during that time, and I saw Melba Pattio Beals would I be the same as everyone else by making fun of her, or would I stand out and say you know what, this isn't right, etc. What I like about this book, is that once u start reading you are trapped behind the margins of the pages, or in another way once you start reading, you can never stop reading. This book instantly caches the reader's eye, and makes them dive head first into the ocean of pages. This book completely changed my perspective on how I treat people, and how I look on life. I highly recommend this book, even though it's sort of a long read, it still has a very good message behind the ink on the papers. Beals did a great job capturing the essence of when she was younger, and although it may seem like old history, she still was able to really get your focus on the book and tell the story of her life. I bet that every person that reads this will be able to get a positive message from it, whether it is from being able to relate to Melba Beals or whether it's just able just to encourage someone's day. I'm glad I chose this book, even though I randomly choose it for my English Class out of a list of like 100 books, but it has a great meaning and message to get through to the public.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2008

    Sad way to make history

    This book was really good. Definitely read it if you're in the education field. It will give you a different outlook on your students. <BR/>It really shows how brave these students were to get a message across. Not only is it sad to read about the events and how nobody was stopping the abuse, but it's also a shame that events like these had to happen to young people in order to make history.<BR/>Really great book!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2006

    A Great Find

    Finally, a book that uncovers the truth! My eighth grade humanities (reading) class read this as part of our curriculum, and it was the most exciting, terrifying, tear-jerking book we had ever read our class! Warriors Don't Cry was fabulously written, and makes you really think. Told in a first person point of view, Melba's story is a true one about the Little Rock Nine and integration. If you enjoy learning about history, or if you just want a good book, head to your local library and check out Warriors Don't Cry. You will thank me for the tip!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2006

    Really recommended.

    Warriors don¿t cry by: Melba Pattillo Beals is about a girl who (is Native American) is sent to a school called Little Rock Central high with all Caucasoid people along with other Native Americans. She has some strong difficulties with the Caucasoid student. They have tried to get rid of her by beating her up. There was one time where I almost started to cry was when she was going to the restroom four Caucasoid girls looked over the stall without her knowing and while she was using the restroom all of a sudden she felt some tissue with fire on her fell in her hair. The girls were laughing and then she got one of her text book through it at one of the girls and all the girls started to run away. Melba Pattillo Beals is the main character and one of my favorite characters. My favorite part of the story is a very sad part of the book. Melba was walking home from school when all of a sudden there was a Caucasoid man who was following Melba. After awhile he started running after her. He striped her, and she fell. The man took of his pants and was going to try to rap her. She was afraid and tried to get up, but he wouldn¿t let her. A girl named Marissa who teased Melba tried to help Melba by hitting the guy on the head. Melba got up and they both started to run away from this guy. She told her grandma and well I don¿t want to spoil it so you guys will just have to read the book your selves. I really do recommend Warriors Don¿t Cry to those who love reading challenging books, and fictions books. I really do like this book because it is very interesting. I also like it because it is a fiction book and I love true stories. If you don¿t like reading like me it is time to start reading books. This book is real interesting, and you wouldn¿t be disappointed. I say this book is a five star book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2006



    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2000

    A Compelling True Drama

    I feel that this book gave me true insight to the horrors of prejudice that have been and still are present in American life. Reading about the author's struggles gave me more courage for my own struggles. She has endured more than I can imagine and has performed a great service by writing her experience for others to learn from.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2000

    A Very Compelling Story

    This book has made me feel very angry and it has made me cry as well. It is truly a fantastic book. I could not put it down from the minute I started reading it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2014

    The memoir Warriors Don¿t Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals is the sto

    The memoir Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals is the story about the battle Melba had to face in high school. Melba was one of nine African Americans who integrated Little Rock’s Central High School. I really liked this book because it showed the struggles of African Americans back in the 1950s, and it also shows how much Caucasians didn’t want change. If I had to pick one thing I didn’t like about the book, it would have to be that she was treated so cruelly. When I read about what Caucasians did to African Americans, I get ashamed of my race. People would scream at Melba and the eight other students as they walked into school. This book truly shows the ways of the citizens in the Southern part of the United States. I encourage everyone to read this fabulous book. 

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  • Posted April 6, 2014

    Warriors Don't Cry is about a girl called Melba Beals who was on

    Warriors Don't Cry is about a girl called Melba Beals who was one of the Little Rock Nine. She signed up to be one of the first black people to go to an all white school. The story is written from the first person perspective. It tells how she survived and what she and her friends had to go through. It made me upset when she explained how the white people treated the black people. It was also upsetting to thing that people would treat other people like that.

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  • Posted April 1, 2014

    A fantastic well written book. Ms. Beals did very well expressin

    A fantastic well written book. Ms. Beals did very well expressing the emotion of interrogating Little Rock Central High School. Her thoughts as well as her diary entries convey what it was really like for her. I found this book very inspiring as well. Her attitude to not give up is what got her through that school. Instead of retaliation which she sometimes wanted to do, she controlled herself. Doing this paid off and she was staring to make some friends instead of enemies. How she handled things taught me that there is more than wanting all your classmates to like you. Instead she stressed on getting a good education to help her in her lifetime. I thought about my future while I was reading this book. I know I can do well, if she could with death threats. I hope you enjoyed this book as much as I did.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Finding the strength to become a warrior

    In her novel, Warriors Don't Cry, a story about her teenage years, Melba Pattillo Beals depicts how her life was changed when she was chosen to be one of nine students to integrate Central High in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957. She, along with eight others, became known as the Little Rock Nine. Melba was treated poorly every single day she attended school. She dealt with continuous death threats, fireball attacks, and immoral police. Although most of Melba's teenage experiences were taken away from her during integration (i.e. sweet sixteen party, school plays, and school dances) she was able to emerge as a warrior. Warriors Don't Cry contained the message that in order to be respected one must fight for it and that we should stand up for what is wrong. The major themes in this book were the difficulty of change, as seen during the President's support of integration and Arkansas governor's opposition of it. The governor even went so far as to have the Arkansas Guard stop the Little Rock Nine from entering school. The President then sent a special division, the 101st Guard to help the kids to enter Central High. Other themes outlined in this book are the evils of racism and overcoming fear. Throughout the year in which this story takes place, Melba constantly fears for her life and what the next day will hold for her, but she prays to God and learns how to deal with the mobs. What I really liked about this book was that it was well written. The story was easy to follow and was written almost like a fiction book, because of all the details. I also liked the use of her actual diary entries and the newspaper headlines that Beals included in her novel. They added another level of reality to the story. One thing that I didn't like about this book was that it got a little repetitive and toward the end of the book I got bored and wanted the book to be over. I think everyone should read this book because there is so much truth to it and that for me is why I enjoyed it so much. Also, I think that one should read this book because the way Melba was treated was wrong and to get a glimpse of what happened from someone who experienced it first hand is very interesting. Anyone who has experienced adversity at some point will relate to all the hardships that Melba dealt with and find inspiration from the few people who gave her hope.

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  • Posted September 15, 2010

    Looking Through a New Set of Eyes-

    I would recommend this book to anyone. It's fairly easy to read, and totally enthralling. Melba Patillo Beals Warriors Don't Cry is a perspective changing memoir. Being a white girl, and growing up in a time when racism is minimal compared to the 1957 high school integration act, I never really understood all that the average black girl had to go through everyday, let alone what the people making a difference had to suffer through. For her junior year of high school Melba, along with five other black children, varying in age, all signed up and integrated Little Rock, Arkansas's Central High. Throughout the year these children suffer immense peer pressure as well as threats and acts of violence from people inside and outside of their small black community. I personally fell in love with this book. Admittedly the beginning of the book was not particularly interesting. I found myself confused about many things, but as the book progressed things were explained. My favorite characters were Link and Danny. I think she should have married Link, but that's just my fairytale book perspective. I liked the way the author combined both teenager perspective and the adult looking back on this experience. I found the sacrifice, the pathos, and the struggle of the story to be incredible. It pulled me in. I didn't expect to enjoy this book, nonfiction is not my typical genre, but I found myself wanting to know more.

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  • Posted April 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Very Good Insight Into Her Struggle

    I was required to read this book for my AP US History class and when I got the assignment I wasn't pleased. I procrastinated under finally boredom made me pick up the book. I was instantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. The struggles that Beals went through as well as the other students is amazing. Her family was truly amazing and after finishing this book I was glad that I had taken the initiative to read it. Although this doesn't fit my normal genre of reading I would recommend it to anyone. My only quarrel with the novel was that it is very repetitive in some parts although I believe she uses this to emphasize what she went through.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2007

    reading is a necessity

    How could this book not break your heart? The detail.. the frustration.. the hope. Beals does a wonderful job bringing her story to life for her readers. I can't imagine the pain and self preservation these people experienced throughout their lives, but the author does a good job at sharing that point of view. It was well-written and easy-to-follow.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2006

    this book iz aight

    The book was really interesting and i like to read thiz book again!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2004


    A girl named Melba had been wanting to go to Central High, an all white public school. She was not allowed to go there because of her being colored, since the high school does not integrate. The time frame was 1957 in which segregation between colors are highly supported. Little Rock, Arkansas is the name of the place where this occurred. Even the governor of Arkansas opposed the order that was given. It took a while for her and her eight other friends to get into Central High because a crowd of angry segregationist does not want to integrate. One of the things that I liked about the book is that it did happen and it is real. something that i disliked is that it gets boring. The author spoke of too much details and kept talking about how frustrated everyone is over and over again. The author did not complete some details that I myself cannot imagine the she is describing. Another reason why I disliked the story is that it skips through from one thing to another. Sometimes it even sticks on one topic and skips to something I don't even have a clue what it is talking about. One other thing that I disliked is that I know it is a true story, but how it is told it is like it did not even happen because it is easy not to believe because it does not converse to the prospects of some readers like me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2003

    not a good book but a GREAT one!

    this book was just simply perfection, it truely captured the true essance of the civil rights image. This book let others outside of the African American race know that it really was that bad.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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