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

Melba Pattillo Beals, Author, Julie Rubenstein, Editor
Melba Pattillo Beals, Author, Julie Rubenstein, Editor Pocket Books $22 (312p) ISBN 978-0-671-86638-9
Reviewed on: 05/30/1994
Release date: 06/01/1994
One of the nine black teenagers who integrated Little Rock's Central High School in 1957 here recounts that traumatic year with drama and detail. Beals, who is now a communications consultant, relies on her own diary from that era and notes made by her English teacher mother--as well as dubiously recreated dialogue--to tell not only of the ugly harassment she was subjected to but also of the impressive dignity of a 15-year-old forced to grow up fast. Arkansas governor Orval Faubus set the tone of the time by resisting integration until a federal judge ordered it. Although Beals was assigned a federal soldier for protection, the young integrationist was still attacked and prevented from engaging in school activities. She recalls stalwart black friends like Minniejean, who was suspended, and a white classmate who surreptitiously kept her informed of the segregationists' tactics. Beals looks back on her Little Rock experiences as ``ultimately a positive force'' that shaped her life. ``The task that remains,'' she concludes, ``is to cope with our interdependence.'' Photos not seen by PW. Author tour. (May)
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