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Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock
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Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  803 ratings  ·  170 reviews
The names Elizabeth Eckford and Hazel Bryan Massery may not be well known, but the image of them from September 1957 surely is: a black high school girl, dressed in white, walking stoically in front of Little Rock Central High School, and a white girl standing directly behind her, face twisted in hate, screaming racial epithets. This famous photograph captures the full ang ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 4th 2011 by Yale University Press (first published September 27th 2011)
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Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared DiamondThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca SklootMe Talk Pretty One Day by David SedarisOne Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcí­a MárquezCollapse by Jared Diamond
NPR
123rd out of 145 books — 115 voters
Gone to the Grave by Abby BurnettA Country Year by Sue HubbellWashington, Arkansas by Mary MedearisSINGING IN ZION by Robert CochranElizabeth and Hazel by David Margolick
Arkansas History & Biography
4th out of 6 books — 3 voters


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Journeywoman
I got this ARC at BEA. I found it marvelous. I'd give it 4 1/2 stars, leaving one star off because the end chapters weren't written as well as the first forty. That could be changed upon publication though.

If you read one non-fiction book during the year, it should be this one. If you have kids, or know teenagers who put every single moment of their lives on twitter and facebook, you should make them read this book. It shows how a picture, one picture, changed the life trajectories of two women
...more
Jessica
Jan 04, 2012 Jessica marked it as to-read
Okay, I don't know how to do the picture thing and am resistant to learning it, but you guys still know how to click on a link, right?

I'm addicted to Life magazine-type great-images-of-the-twentieth-century kind of things, and this is probably the famous historical photograph that has moved me the most. When I was in high school, I xeroxed the page of my history textbook that it was printed on and hung this picture on my wall. To me, it just expressed everything about how thoroughly shitty and h
...more
Jean louise Finch
This story broke my heart. It goes beyond that hateful picture and describes human emotion, hate, forgiveness and redemption.

Beyond this there are SPOILERS so please read at your own discretion:

Elizabeth is the shy young girl who signed up to be one of the nine who integrated Central High in the 50s. You learn that the story did not end with integration. That Elizabeth suffered greatly for her sacrifice, years of undiagnosed post traumatic stress disorder that left her unable to lead a successf
...more
Cafelilybookreviews
Elizabeth Ann Eckford walked to school alone the morning of September 4, 1957, due to miscommunication. Her family did not have a telephone so when the plans were changed for the location of the "Little Rock Nine" to meet up, Elizabeth wasn't notified.

That one miscommunication forever changed history as she walked to school and had to pass through an angry, taunting crowd shouting racial slurs and obscenities. Humiliated and scared, she was denied entrance to the school so Elizabeth had to endu
...more
Judy
On the morning of September 4, 1957, due to a miscommunication about where to meet, Elizabeth Eckford, one of the "Little Rock Nine", set out for her first day at Central High School. Arriving alone, she was isolated among a mob of angry, hostile whites who were determined that African Americans were not going to integrate Central High School. With cries of "lynch her" and "let's drag her over to that tree" ringing in her ears, Elizabeth was denied entrance to the school and had to walk through ...more
Jane
When I was preparing to leave North Dakota for the college town of Galesburg, Illinois, my dad mentioned to me that among my classmates at Knox College would be one of the Little Rock Nine. Sure enough, when I moved into my triple room on the third floor in Whiting Hall, I realized that across the hall and down about two rooms from mine lived Elizabeth Eckford, Liz to her classmates, and her roommate Marcie. Liz and I were in the same French 201 class taught by the fearsome Dr. Elna Jeffries, an ...more
Heidi
The story writes itself. This is the kind of story that keeps nonfiction in the lead of my personal favorite genres. With that being said, the author's writing style was entirely too distracting - it didn't read or flow comfortably. This is worth a read, definitely. I only wish someone else had written the book besides Mr. Margolick.

I will say this about it... it sparked one of the most interesting discussions my book club (we are in Little Rock, and most in our group are active in protecting c
...more
Jael
"In May 1957 school administrators set out to find the black trailblazers: children who were simultaneously old enough to attend to cut it Central, close enough to get there easily, smart enough to cut it academically, strong enough to survive the ordeal, mild enough to make no waves, and stoic enough not to fight back. And, collectively, scarce enough to minimize white objections." Pg. 26

On Sept. 4, 1957 nine black teenagers tried to enter Central High School, an all-white school that had been
...more
Joe
I found myself flipping to page 60 quite often to look at the iconic photograph that the book is about. There are so many different things happening in the photo. It honestly gave me goosebumps several times. Being a transplant in the South, the things that people say (in 2011!), continue to amaze me. I can't fathom the atmosphere in Little Rock in 1957.

The book was interesting, but did drone on a bit at times.

I am critical on how a book ends, fiction or non-fiction. Not to give anything away,
...more
Diane Mueller
This is not a happily ever after book. Elizabeth and Hazel's picture will forever be a part of history but that was just a brief moment in both of their lives. How that day affected Elizabeth for the rest of her life is told in this story. Hazel moved on yet returned to apologize which affected her more than the day of the picture ever did. The two became friends for a time but old feelings keep that friendship from developing into something lasting, The story isn't over and never will be in the ...more
Jeanne
This book should be required reading for all high school students. We have all seen the iconic picture of one of the Little Rock Nine being followed an angry mob, with one woman in particular spewing hate. Both were 15. This book traces the lifetime of both women who were bonded together forever by a single photograph. Amazingly, they did have a friendship for a period of time. It raises the question: can Blacks and whites ever be truly reconciled? I wish, I hope, but I wonder, too.
Krista
My son and I went to the Brown vs. the Board of Education National Park site in Topeka last year. Writ large on a wall was a copy of the Johnny Jenkins version of the picture of Elizabeth and Hazel. Elizabeth, eyes hidden by sunglasses, in a perfectly pressed skirt and shirt, grasping a notebook in her thin, dark-skinned arm. Hazel behind her, her white face contorted, her mouth agape with hate. I knew nothing about the two women. I didn't know their names. I didn't even, at that point, know tha ...more
Krissy
This book broke my heart. For a woman with such potential, it is a crime that this mob followed Elizabeth for the rest of her life. A woman of such intelligence and self contained strength deserved a far better hand than the nasty one that history dealt her.

More books like this should be written. It's so easy to see the historic pictures and think of the broad concept of the Civil Rights (or insert whichever period of history you're looking at) and not of the individual people. Immortalized at
...more
Mike
Before there was #Selma, there were two women, a photograph and the Little Rock Nine. David Margolick's book, Elizabeth and Hazel, chronicles the day - September 4, 1957 - when nine students went to school - and the indelible impact that day and photograph had on the lives of two women, Elizabeth Eckford and Hazel Bryan. But this day wasn't any ordinary school day nor were these nine students including Eckford treated as ordinary school kids. Margolick's is a thought provoking look at racism, un ...more
Kathryn M
Struck me as curious how solidly we hold to our interpretation of others motives, how judgmental instead of generous we can be, despite the cost. This rigid thinking seems to serve no one well. It also struck me how blind we can be to our own lens as well as our personal shortcomings, how that gets in the way of realizing our greatest potential. It seems so clear in the telling of other people's story. What am I missing in the telling of my own? I am Elizabeth holding on to old pain which I stil ...more
Erik
This was a very fascinating story about two of the most well recognized faces of the civil rights movement. One very well known picture with, maybe a little less known post script. I will say the lives these two women lived was extremely interesting. This book is proof that I think we still have a very long way to go with regards to race relations in this country. This is a happy, depressing, important, infuriating, amazing story I've read in a while. I think this book is a must read for anyone ...more
Jayme
As I was reading this book I couldn't help but think about Paul Harvey's tag line "And now you know the Rest of the Story>." Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock traces the lives of the two girls who were catapulted into American history by events and a photograph that will change and define them for the rest of their lives.

If you grew up in the American educational system, at some point you saw the iconic photograph of Elizabeth Eckford's lonely walk on her first day of school and
...more
Suzanne Moore
"Go back to Af(click)rica", screamed Hazel Bryan Massery. Elizabeth Eckford walked ahead seemingly oblivious to her tormentors. This iconic photo captured so much emotion, and marks the beginning of the Civil Rights movement. As I read the background on these two women and how they became friends years later, I was sickened by the hatred and abuse that the Little Rock Nine endured. I didn't go to school during the years of segregation or struggles of integration, but I do remember the busing tha ...more
Allison
Feb 28, 2012 Allison rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: non
A very informative book about the central figures in the most famous photo of the Little Rock Nine. Beginning with the two fifteen-year-old girls getting ready for school on September 4, 1957, the book follows them through that day and the rocky years of integration that followed. Their stories are told individually, regardless of how intertwined their lives actually were, which sets a good tone for the book. When Hazel publicly apologized to Elizabeth in 1997, the press jumped all over it, both ...more
Jennifer
I find myself at a loss for words while trying to review this book. I so thoroughly enjoyed reading about the lives of these two women and their journey together. My loss for words comes from not feeling that I have any right to comment on the 'characters' in this book. They are not fictional characters, they are real people who have been through so much in their lives and been through so many judgments already. It's not my place to continue judging any of them. With that said I do however want ...more
Naomi
I must say that the first two thirds of this book found me having such a visceral reaction of disgust that, although I knew I needed to continue on, I found myself consistently angry and appalled. I have absolutely no issues with reading books on the South during the Civil War years, yet find myself regularly disgusted when I read nonfiction books on Pre-Civil Rights Era South, a period of time which was very much within a lifetime for the majority of Americans and something very sad that in the ...more
Michelle
I won this book from Goodreads, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The writing style was more narrative than I had expected, which meant that I was able to read it very rapidly. At times it lacked connectivity, like when Margolick described Grace Lorch and her background and Louis Armstrong's reaction to the Little Rock photograph. I found these sections interesting and I liked what they added to the story, I just wished that there was a better flow to and from them. I often found that I had to stop a ...more
Lee
The Little Rock Nine were amazing people but I think that Elizabeth Eckford is my favorite now. Here strength was amazing but how she suffered was never really known until this book. Then when her famous verbal attacker reentered her life and "apologized" some interesting events took place. For a time they even became friends but that was difficult to say the least.

What I learned is that we are all in need of love and acceptance and we need to reach out to others every day. Who is in my life tha
...more
Zohar - ManOfLaBook.com
Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock by David Margolick is a non fiction book about two ladies who were made famous by the press. The book looks history square in the eye and doesn’t flinch.

Elizabeth Eckford and Hazel Bryan were captured for posterity in a photograph by Will Counts. The picture which is a disgrace to the Jim Crow south struck chords in many people in American on many levels and still does so today.

However, the two women in the picture, Elizabeth Eckford walking in a dig
...more
Jennifer W
Compulsively readable. I have a lot of admiration for both women, neither of whom I knew anything about before reading this book. The discrimination, the hatred, the fear that Elizabeth felt walking into that school, and the rest of the year there, I can't even imagine how hard that must have been. As for Hazel, who hasn't done something stupid or hateful as a teenager? Fortunately for most of us, it isn't caught on tape. She has to live with it the rest of her life, and no one will forget it. A ...more
Drick
This is a fascinating book looking at the lives of two people Elizabeth Eckford and Hazel Bryan Massery whose faces were famous in a picture of Elizabeth as one of the "Little Rock Nine" sought to enter Little Rock, AR Central High School in 1957. In the background Hazel has a screaming face and became the "face" of intractable white racism of the 1950's. This book follows the lives of these two women since that fateful day in September 1957. After years of being linked in a famous picture, Eliz ...more
Elizabeth R
This is a very interesting piece of history that I did not know much about. I wasn't wild about the author's writing style-- sometimes it was very confusing, trying to make sense of who or what he was referring to in some sentences-- but the topic itself was interesting enough to keep me plowing through. This is the story of Elizabeth Eckford, one of the Little Rock Nine who were the first black students to be integrated with Central High School's white student body. Due to a lack of communicati ...more
Robin
I was taught in school of the events in Little Rock, Arkansas but I honestly never really read the readings that would be given to me thoroughly. I would scan and take away what I thought would be on the quiz the next day. I chose this book on the shelf because the photo and the title made my mind twitch with curiosity. This book came about because of a photo that was taken years ago of these two young girls caught in the middle of change. Change that was welcomed by most but revered by too man ...more
Amy
A fast read about how 1957 never really ended for Elizabeth and Hazel. Elizabeth was left with something like PTSD after her one year as part of the Little Rock Nine. Hazel seemed to genuinely change and try to make amends for having been the face of bigotry in a still-famous photograph. For a while in the 90s, they were friends and did speaking engagements together. Then they fell out and apparently are still not talking to each other.

I ended up feeling pretty sad about Elizabeth. She seems to
...more
Jenny
This is an excellent book because it is a story that needs to be told. We've probably all seen the picture and are familiar with the basic outline of what happened in Little Rock. Then we all move on and never think twice about what happened to the real people who were involved and lived through it.

This book has made me think a lot about "rising to the challenge of history." Would we recognize it in our own time? Would our actions or inactions leave us feeling ashamed years later? When it comes
...more
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