May 18, 12
Recommended to Laurie by:
Brown Bag Book Club
Read from April 20 to May 14, 2012
An incredible true tale of an integration attempt at Little Rock Central High School. Ms. Beals tells a sobering account of what it was like for nine black students inside the high school for one year. I was but five years old in 1957 and never learned the story before now.
This memoir is an amazing account by one of the nine students. Ms. Beals' story is told in such a low-key manner although her emotional and physical pain seems as if it would have left a person with a great deal of anger. Ms. Beals remarkably relates events through news clippings, her diary and her memories. It is awesome how she was able to find the inner strength to go back day after day knowing what trials awaited her and the other eight students.
Segregationists were ruthless and teachers, as well as the National Guard, did little to stop harassment of blacks by whites: walking on a person's heels until they bled, throwing paper fire balls over bath room stalls, throwing ink on clothing, pushing kids down stairways, knocking kids down and kicking them, threatening and name calling (of course), social isolation, holding under scalding shower water after gym class, even one stab in the back and acid solution into the eyes!
One student was a senior and he did graduate against very stiff odds. But, the next year, the high school was closed down to avoid complying with the Federal law. I am not sure when it re-opened.