Amanda's Reviews > Warriors Don't Cry: The Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock's Central High

Warriors Don't Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals
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Jul 10, 2008

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Read in July, 2008

Truly shocking.

I couldn't believe all the misery that those kids went through, trying to be the first to integrate Central High in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957. I had always just assumed that once they got inside the school, everything was hunky dory. Not at all. A typical day for Beals involved getting kicked down the stairs, sprayed in the eyes, repeatedly called names, shoved, jabbed, mocked, etc. by other students while teachers turned a blind eye. I don't know how she did it. There were several times in the book that I honestly thought she should give up because it was too dangerous to continue. I cannot believe she did not become severely depressed and psychologically traumatized from all the abuse.

I also did not know that Gov. Faubus CLOSED all the high schools the following year to prevent further integration. If I were Beals I would have been relieved that I didn't have to go to that place of torment anymore, but it was also a way of taking away the victory that the students scored by lasting the entire first year. My aunt and uncle lived briefly in Little Rock and just moved from there last year. It sounds as though racial tensions are still quite high there, fifty years later. When they sold their house, neighbors told them not to sell it to any black people because they didn't want them in the (currently) all-white neighborhood.
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