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Warriors Don't Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock's Central High
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Warriors Don't Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock's Central High

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  11,691 ratings  ·  1,408 reviews
The landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling, Brown v. Board of Education, brought the promise of integration to Little Rock, Arkansas, but it was hard-won for the nine black teenagers chosen to integrate Central High School in 1957. They ran the gauntlet between a rampaging mob and the heavily armed Arkansas National Guard, dispatched by Governor Orval Faubus to subvert federal ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published February 1st 1995 by Washington Square Press (first published January 1st 1994)
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Jas Yes, a very important part of history that's still playing out. If you want to understand what is happening in Charlottesville now, study what happene…moreYes, a very important part of history that's still playing out. If you want to understand what is happening in Charlottesville now, study what happened in Little Rock in 1957. I was there, if only five years old, but it didn't take me long to see what a great wrong existed and still does.(less)

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Start your review of Warriors Don't Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock's Central High
Shannon Hitchcock
This book was assigned reading for my son and I picked it up when he finished. Melba Patillo Beals was one of the students chosen to integrate Little Rock's Central High School in 1957. The amount of courage that she and the other students exhibited is incredible.

Melba was threatened, taunted, and even had acid sprayed in her eyes. I read this book with tears in my own eyes, ashamed at this part of our country's history. It also made me question whether I would have had the courage, especially a
...more
Camille
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: four-times-read
I loved this story!

The amount of bravery exuded from such a young lady is quite remarkable.
I've read other reviewers upset with Beals for including so much of her religious belief in this story but I believe it was necessary to humanize her. The stories told in this memoir were truly shocking and I felt for young Melba in a very special way. She is truly a hero in my eyes. A highly recommended read!

BTW, there was a movie made about Ernest Green's year in Central High that I would highly recommen
...more
Mona
Jun 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shortly after the United States Supreme Court prohibited school segregation in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, twelve-year-old Melba signed a list to go to school with white people. Three years later, she got her wish. She was selected with eight other African-American students to attend and integrate Little Rock's Central High School. They became known as the Little Rock Nine.

Immediately there were obstacles. Governor Faubus called in the National Guard to surround Central High and preven
...more
Amy
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, audio
This is a powerful memoir about one girl's experience during a year of forced integration in Little Rock, Arkansas. I've been reading some of the cases in law school but it is a different thing to hear it from a 15 year old's perspective.
Whether or not you agree with the politics, I think this makes for an interesting, thought-provoking read. (Also, I found it so absorbing I had to remind myself that this was Real Life and not fiction so I couldn't be disappointed when my ship died. But dang, L
...more
Lisa
Jul 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely LOVED this book! The bravery of the Little Rock nine was an inspiration to me. I had no idea the extent of suffering these kids went through. They are true heroes!
Amanda
Jun 26, 2008 rated it liked it
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 s
...more
Marvin
That when the WHY is big enough, we can overcome ANY..HOW
Karen Rooff
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am a historian by academic training, yet I knew precious little about this story. I'd heard of The Little Rock Nine and seen the famous photo of them marching in to Central High. But that's about it.

I was blissfully naive about the intensity and extensive length of time these children were bullied by kids and adults alike. I had no idea the governor and state troopers were so awful. Melba's story gives insight into both the high level and daily horrors they faced.

I highly recommend this book t
...more
Mary
Devastating. It's terrifying to read about huge numbers of adults and children so completely abandoning empathy and common decency, even in a media spotlight and under judicial pressure. They were so committed to their hate. We have so much to atone for, even as we continue to offend. The author's courage in the face of all the abuse is mind-boggling.
Kitkat
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I really did like this book because Melba is such a powerful black woman. Melba tells her story how she goes to a school of white racist people who harassed her for her skin color. Melba struggles a lot and is harassed by everyone. I got so angry at everyone for treating her like this because she's a human being. How Melba's grandmother tells her to stop crying because warriors don't cry made me smile. My mom would say the same thing to me and how strong Melba is amazing. Melba goes through so m ...more
Andrea
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was very powerful. I had no idea what it was like for the Little Rock 9 to actually do the incredibly hard work to integrate Central High School. This book made me hurt inside for these teenagers.
Amber Eats Books
Feb 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a must read for everyone!
Caroline
Aug 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book was recommended to me as a possible model text for the "Making a Difference" unit in my 9th grade class. IT WAS AMAZING and the most ENGAGING book I've read in a long time. I learned so much from this book about the daily lives of Black people living in the midst of the desegregation movement, things that we never hear in news clips and documentaries.

My image of the Little Rock desegregation is probably like most people's: soldiers pave the way for some brave kids go to school among w
...more
Adriana Escamilla
An innocent teenager.
An unexpected hero.
In 1957, Melba Pattillo turned sixteen. That was also the year she became a warrior on the front lines of a civil rights firestorm. Following the landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling, Brown v. Board of Education, Melba was one of nine teenagers chosen to integrate Little Rock's Central High School.

Throughout her harrowing ordeal, Melba was taunted by her schoolmates and their parents, threatened by a lynch mob's rope, attacked with lighted sticks of dynamite
...more
Abraham
Aug 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-top-5
This is a great introduction for kids to the school integration part of the civil rights movement. I love how Beals allows us into her teenage world in a way that seems both honest and genuine. We get a view of both her headline-making efforts to integrate Central High and her personal world of a normal teenager (crushes, drama with friends, clashes with family, etc.).

It's literally impossible for me to imagine what it would be like to go to school under these conditions. The name "warrior" seem
...more
Bobbi
May 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
A searing, difficult, wonderful read by one of the 9 children who integrated Little Rock Central HS in 1957 against the wishes of the thousands who mobbed the school daily and many of the white students who did their best, with the help of the abolitionist adults and the Governor of Arkansas, to make life so difficult and miserable for the 9 that they would die or drop out. Melba Pattillo Beals brings the reader into her world for the year she holds her head high while dreading the daily fear, p ...more
Kylee Maidhof
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
In this book, Melba is chosen to integrate Central High School. She faces many hardships there because of her race. Melba is forced to be extremely brave and courageous as she pushes through her situation.

I thought that this book was okay, certain parts were better than others. I liked the idea of sharing this story through the form of a book, but after a while it felt very repetitive. I noticed that sometimes it would bring up an interesting topic, and then it would never go deeper into it. I l
...more
Syndy
Nov 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Syndy by: Social Studies Teacher
Melba Patillo beals really does an excellent job of making you feel and vision what the little rock nine experienced. Through all those times they were being mistreated and abused in every possible way due to the complexion of their skin, they never gave up. Ofcourse at times they felt that the conditions were too overwhelming but they never thought that what they were doing was a complete waste and that it wasn't worth it. Yes, integrating Central High would be an impediment. But they were will ...more
Violet
May 20, 2017 rated it did not like it
Wow, this book was stupid. Don't get me wrong, the story is incredible and filled with so much bravery, but the actual book, yeah that was stupid as hell. She wouldn't stop talking about God which made me uncomfortable and roll my eyes. But the concept that the strongest, most brave heroes around don't cry is absolutely absurd. Cry all the fuck you want, it's your body's natural reaction, but getting up and knowing where to stop crying, that is true strength and bravery.
Vianey Sanchez
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Heart-wrenching. Moving. Important. May we never take for granted the sacrifice of countless people in the quest for civil and human rights.
Ellen
Apr 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Until I am welcomed everywhere as an equal simply because I am human, I remain a warrior on a battlefield that I must not leave. I continue to be a warrior who does not cry but who instead takes action. If one person is denied equality, we are all denied equality.”

This made me both cringe at the worst of humanity and cheer at the best of humanity. It’s definitely a heavy read, but I learned so much from Melba’s first-hand experience. I can’t believe what these kids were put through—this was les
...more
Jenn
Jun 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
We’ve all seen the pictures of the Little Rock Nine, the one with Elizabeth Eckford with the mobs’ ugly faces behind her, and the one with the nine students surrounded by the 101st airborne escorting them to school. What I hadn’t learned about was why the desegregation was so ugly in Little Rock, or that there were over 1,000 101st airmen there to protect these students, and that they were there for 3 months, and that when they left, it wasn’t because there was acceptance, and it didn’t get any ...more
Carol
Jul 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, ethnic, biography
"In 1957, Melba Pattillo turned sixteen. That was also the year she became a warrior on the front lines of a civil rights firestorm. Following the landmark 1954 Supreme Court ruling, Brown v. Board of Education, Melba was one of nine teenagers chosen to integrate Little Rock's Central High School."

Growing up during the civil rights movement with its struggles to desegregate the nation's schools, I was acquainted with the story of the "Little Rock Nine," but never knew the inside story until now.
...more
Matthew Swastek
Dec 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My final book for the semester was Warriors Don’t Cry by Melba Beals. Beals was one of the Little Rock Nine that were the first black students to integrate a white school. The novel is somewhat of an autobiography, told from Beals’ perspective and intertwined with diary entries. The story begins with Beals describing living with her mother, who was a teacher, her father, who worked for a railroad company, her grandmother, and her little brother. She provides some examples of racism, but expresse ...more
Katherine Wren
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As an Arkansan I grew up learning about The Little Rock Nine, but only with the barest of facts during the month of February. I knew these students were brave. I knew they were chosen on their personal and academic merit.
However, until I read this book, I didn't know that integration didn't happen on the first day of the school year or the first day that the students tried to attend. I didn't know the literal life or death danger that the students were in. I knew the incident makes Faubus look
...more
Adrian
Feb 06, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A book club book. I don't usually read books that involve cruelty and violence because I obsess over the images they bring into my head until it keeps me awake at night. I need my sleep. Because of that, I admit to skimming this instead of reading every word. Although the story she tells is one that should be remembered and not forgotten, this is not actually a very good book. At the end she mentions that she became a journalist, and that is how this book is written: as a very long news article. ...more
Kay Hommedieu
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let's just say that this book was an eye opener for me. I knew of the Little Rock Nine that integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, but I had no idea of the taunts, harassment and outright attempts of their lives that each student suffered.

This book by Melba Patillo, one of the nine is her story taken from her diary and her scrapbook of newspaper clippings from the daily paper, the Arkansas Gazette.

She also explained the difference between the National Guard ordered by Governor
...more
carolina
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone


This book needs to be read by everyone. Melba, thank you for being brave, once again, and writing this book.

If y'all don't know who the Little Rock Nine is, then let me tell you; the little rock nine are nine people of colored who went to Little Rock Central High, a white school, and made it an integrated school. This is a big moment in U.S History, and it should be acknowledged by everyone.

We learn about this moment in class, but by reading this book, we're in the school with Melba and her ot
...more
Katie
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've always been so intrigued by and in awe of the Little Rock 9 and all their achievements throughout their lives. This was by no means an easy read, emotionally. So much cruelty was inflicted on them not only by their peers but their own community, their neighbours, their teachers, the National Guard, the Governor of Arkansas, Police officers who threw their badges down and rioted against integration.
All these kids wanted was an education that would help them achieve their goals and in trying
...more
Stacia
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow. I've already said how impressed by this book I am. How these nine students had the fortitude & guts to do what they did just awes me. I think it should be required reading for all U.S. high school students. Though progress has obviously been made on many fronts, not enough progress has been made & there has been significant erosion in the past couple of years (imo). It's history I didn't know enough about & now that I've learned so much more, I feel it's history we need to make sure we don ...more
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Warriors don't cry 1 10 Jun 01, 2014 11:37AM  
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Melba Pattillo Beals made history as a member of the Little Rock Nine, the nine African-American students involved in the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School in 1957. The world watched as they braved constant intimidation and threats from those who opposed desegregation of the formerly all-white high school. She later recounted this harrowing year in her book titled Warriors Don’t Cry ...more

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