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“Warriors Don’t Cry” by Melba Pattillo Beals

This book touches about one of the most important and complex issues in the U.S. history. The problem of racial equality and discrimination has always been acute for the U.S., and on this subject were written many works. Of course, racism does not leave anyone indifferent, and the position of black people in the society concerns many readers.

The book “Warriors Don’t Cry” is a touching and memorable, it does not leave anyone indifferent. This is primarily due to the fact that it deals with events of an important period in American history, namely with periods of desegregation and integration of people of black and white races. Also very interesting are the heroes of the book, the “Little Rock nine”, and especially the main character Melba Beals. It is the heroes of the book, who are young but very brave, courageous and strong personalities are in the focus of the story. Readers certainly like those Little Rock nine heroes, emphasize their problems, suffer with them and enjoy their accomplishments.

In the book “Warriors Don’t Cry” the author tells about her experience of relations between black and white races, about problem of racial hatred and discrimination that she as an African-American faced with. That experience Melba Pattillo Beals and other eight African-American children got in Little Rock, Arkansas, during the process of desegregation in 1957.

So, the book tells about the process of desegregation that began after the court case Brown v. Board of Education. In 1951, black residents of Kansas, Oliver Brown sued the city school board on behalf of his daughter and claimed that she should attend school for whites, because it was closer to his home. Although the court rejected Brown’s claim, but other black residents have filed similar lawsuits in other states. After a series of trials that cases came to the U.S. Supreme Court, which considered all the arguments and stated that the doctrine of “separated but equal rights” had no place in education. The Supreme Court in 1954 stated that segregation in schools denied black children “equal protection of laws” which was guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and that decision marked the end of racial segregation in the US schools.

The decision of the Supreme Court legally stopped racial segregation in American schools, but this process was met with resistance from many people in several states. For example, in 1957 in the city of Little Rock, Arkansas, federal troops were introduced after the failure of the state governor to carry out the court’s decision. In September at the beginning of the school year, nine black children, who were later known as the “Nine from Little Rock”, were to go to school due to the new legislation on desegregation, but they were met by armed soldiers of the National Guard State (obeying the Governor). A crowd gathered early to intimidate white children, shouting threats and insults. Within the next 19 days black students were forced to stay home. Later, the decision of a federal court ordered to remove troops from the school. However, on 23 September, when black students came to school, on the street again gathered aggressive crowd. Even two months later, when the troops were withdrawn, white students began to humiliate, insult and beat black children. Though little brave pupils decided to stay at school, despite all the sufferings and humiliations, and eight of the nine children finished the school year.

The book in fact is interesting as it shows experiences of nine brave, young African-American students from honest, hardworking, families. Those children and their families tried to stand for the oppression that black people had faced for the past centuries in the USA. As for Melba Beals, she was extremely positive and inspiring young girl, who dreamt to get an education, and then to become an equal member the society, of joint community of both the black and white people.

These events and experiences are very brightly and interestingly described in the book “Warriors Don’t Cry” by Melba Pattillo Beals. This book opens up many interesting points and details of the history of Little Rock and nine children. First of all, it is important to note that the book shows those real events and experiences faced by the black heroes of the story. The author has described all the feelings of anger and resentment, sufferings and emotions of characters, shows the true position of black people at that time, because from the historical sources we can not know the whole truth, all the details of the history of Little Rock, but only the official information.

I would advise to read this book to everyone, because the theme of discrimination and inequality is important for everyone, and is still relevant. The book also is interesting from a historical perspective, while revealing the important events of American history, and history of the struggle of black people for their rights and equality in society. Also, this book is interesting because it shows such important qualities as strength, faith, courage of people in the fight with injustice. In the images of heroes, and especially of Melba Beals, we can see that each ordinary person has strength to fight with such great evil as racism and hatred, it is necessary just not to stay indifferent. So the book “Warriors Don’t Cry” is important from historical and social points of view, interesting and exciting, instructive, and raises problems of people and society.


Works cited:

Bates, Daisy. The Long Shadow of Little Rock: A Memoir. New York: David McKay Company, Inc., 1962
Beals Melba Pattillo. Warriors Don’t Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock’s Central High. Washington Square Press , 1995