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

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  1,116 Ratings  ·  218 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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Jane
Dec 23, 2011 Jane rated it really liked it
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
Journeywoman
Jun 07, 2011 Journeywoman rated it really liked it
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
Cafelilybookreviews
Nov 07, 2011 Cafelilybookreviews rated it really liked it
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
Jean louise Finch
Sep 25, 2011 Jean louise Finch rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-revisit
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
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
Cynda
Feb 10, 2017 Cynda rated it really liked it
4 stars.
1 star taken by lack of historical background. This book is published by Yale University Press, so I want to find date lists, such as the various civil rights acts, starting with the Civil Rights Act of 1871 which prohibited ethnic violence against African-Americans, known as the Ku Klux Klan Act thru the Civil Rights Act of 1991 which addresses employees' discrimination claims. Also I would have liked to have seen other dates listed, such as the court case Brown v Board of Education, th
...more
Heidi
Jan 31, 2012 Heidi rated it liked it
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
Angie Fehl
Feb 09, 2016 Angie Fehl rated it really liked it

Margolick's book is sort of a dual bio looking at the two main women from one of the most famous photographs taken during the Civil Rights Movement era. How that photo came to be and what happened to the two women later in life. The truth might surprise you.

The story opens around summer 1956 through start of school year 1957. Elizabeth Eckford was a shy, bookish African-American teenager (15 at the time of the photo) from a working-class family. Being self-conscious about her crooked teeth, she
...more
Jael
Nov 20, 2011 Jael rated it it was amazing
"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
Liralen
Nov 12, 2016 Liralen rated it really liked it
I picked this up at the library book sale on November 8, and it seems particularly apropos in light of how the U.S. presidential election went. I knew the basic story of the Little Rock Nine, of course, but Margolick goes a step further: he traces the trajectories of two students—one a black girl trying to go to school, one a white girl captured on camera spewing vitriol at her—in the days weeks months years decades following that photo.

As Margolick notes, most of what people read now about the
...more
Judy
Apr 13, 2012 Judy rated it really liked it
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
Maria Christensen
Sep 29, 2016 Maria Christensen rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
If you're looking for quick, easy answers, and neatly drawn conclusions to complex issues, this isn't the book for you.

If you want people to behave in predictable ways, this isn't the book for you. By that, I don't mean the overt racism of previous decades, rather the ways in which people have healed, or not, since then.

If you're looking for a stereotypical tell-all, this isn't the book for you. It's as much about the impact of racism and how people see themselves, as it is about these two wome
...more
Joe
Oct 15, 2011 Joe rated it really liked it
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
Dec 23, 2011 Diane Mueller rated it really liked it
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
Meghan
Oct 12, 2015 Meghan rated it really liked it
Fascinating look behind the girls-turned-into-women from the famous Central High integration picture from 1957. I'd seen the picture growing up and then happened to see an Oprah special years ago on the people from famous pictures and I remembered these two ladies being on it and that Hazel (the white girl screaming obscenities) had apologized to Elizabeth. Pictures and Oprah shows show only a glimpse of what these women lived through, especially Elizabeth, as one of nine black children in a hig ...more
Michael
May 10, 2015 Michael rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2010s
The photograph at the heart of this book is one I've thought about a lot, and I have often wondered who exactly the girls in the picture were and what happened afterwards. It's an odd thing to have a book appear about exactly that subject, and for it to turn out to be a much stranger and more complicated story than I could ever have guessed. It is occasionally rather harrowing reading, especially the moment-by-moment walkthrough of the morning that the photograph was taken.
Jenni
Feb 15, 2016 Jenni rated it it was amazing
This was such a awesome read! Touching, frustrating, thought provoking, oftentimes heartbreaking. There was quite a bit of historical background and many issues covered, not just racism. While it is apparent how much things have changed since the Little Rock desegregation attempt, the narrative provided a gentle reminder of how much further we have to go.
Polly
Mar 28, 2016 Polly rated it really liked it
Eye opening and heartbreaking story. I think this should be a must read for kids in school just like the Diary of Anne Frank. I say that because the Diary of Anne Frank touched me when I had to read it in school and stuck with me just as the story of these two women does.
Michelle
Feb 27, 2017 Michelle rated it it was amazing
There is rarely a book (and almost never a non-fiction one) that I can say I couldn't put down. And yet I found myself unable to close the cover on this one for very long. I was like my young son, trying to sneak in just one more chapter.
I learned so much, and not just about the historical events surrounding the integration of Central High. For example, I never knew there were internment camps for Japanese Americans in Arkansas during WWII. As a Californian, I was only aware of those on the wes
...more
Krista
Feb 07, 2015 Krista rated it it was ok
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
Cathy
Sep 11, 2015 Cathy rated it it was amazing
A quote from another book called “The Book Thief” immediately came to mind throughout my reading of this book; ”I am Haunted By Humans”. The behavior of humans has always been a fascination to me. Why do we act the way we do? We do the things we shouldn’t and the things we should we don’t. Elizabeth and Hazel should be required school reading material. If not an entire semester course on relationships for that matter. Perhaps you’ll see some people you know or have known, including yourself; if ...more
Anne
Dec 18, 2016 Anne rated it really liked it
Once upon a time, this country was deeply divided by the color of a person's skin. This book captures the story of two young women who found themselves forever captured within a single moment of that era, a moment that would shape them for years to come.

OK...so that "once upon a time" thing really isn't true. Because we know (after this most recent election and 8 years with a President of color) that the racial divide in this country is alive and well, ingrained so deeply within us Americans tha
...more
Judy
May 27, 2013 Judy rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, non-fiction
David Margolick makes a historical event and breathes life into it. He does this by introducing the two main characters separately--we learn about their families, how they live, and what has influenced their lives to the point in history where their lives intersect. While I lived through the events the book focuses upon, I was busy with my own life. I noted that shortly after the attempted integration at Little Rock Central High School, I became pregnant with our first son; so the lives of other ...more
Jeanne
Nov 01, 2013 Jeanne rated it really liked it
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.
Jodi Tooke
Feb 04, 2016 Jodi Tooke rated it liked it
An interesting look at two people thrust into the world spotlight by events surrounding school integration. An interesting follow-up to an incendiary event.
Jill Meyer
May 19, 2017 Jill Meyer rated it it was amazing
is not always an option, even after 50 years. David Margolik's study of one of American history's most iconic photographs, taken during the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School, reunites the two women in picture, Elizabeth Eckford and Hazel Bryan. Eckford, the 15 year old black girl who was carefully chosen by civil rights leaders in 1957 to be one of nine black students to first integrate the school. She is pictured enduring a gauntlet of screaming whites as she tries to walk toward ...more
Jessica Elder
Feb 16, 2017 Jessica Elder rated it really liked it
Shelves: arkansas
Chose this for a book club because it was set in Arkansas. This was a very quick and easy read. I was impressed with the author's level of research and amount of time he dedicated to the different eras of the women's lives, and with the complexity he allows the issues (unlike the quick and dismissive handling they have encountered before). This is one of those stories that's stranger than fiction-- and would seem ridiculous in a novel. I really want to say some examples, but don't want to spoil. ...more
Krissy Ronan
Jun 22, 2017 Krissy Ronan rated it really liked it
Interesting nonfiction about two women from an impactful photo, but also about race relations during that time period.
Zohar - ManOfLaBook.com
Oct 08, 2011 Zohar - ManOfLaBook.com rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
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
Lily
Nov 05, 2012 Lily rated it it was amazing
What a fascinating and eye-opening book. Detailing the lives of Hazel Bryan and Elizabeth Eckford, from the famous Little Rock Nine heckling photo, the book also described the weird culture of commemoration. Elizabeth's life was basically ruined by that first day of school, and the aftermath of her traumatic high school experience was often swept under the rug or denied by white students. After these events, she develops PTSD, can't hold down a job, struggles financially, and puts her two sons o ...more
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