Melba Pattillo Beals
A member of the Little Rock Nine, Melba is the sixteen-year-old main character and narrator of Warriors Don’t Cry. Her participation in the effort to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas… read analysis of Melba Pattillo Beals
Melba’s mother Lois is a determined woman who protects Melba from violent segregationists. She was one of the first black students to integrate the University of Arkansas, from which she graduated in 1954. She teaches… read analysis of Mother Lois
Melba’s grandmother, Grandma India is a devout Christian woman with a strong sense of social justice and a belief that “God had pointed a finger at [her] family,” which has been “blessed with good health… read analysis of Grandma India
An older girl who attends Dunbar Junior High School with Melba. Marissa is initially described as a bully who throws “overripe persimmons” at Melba. No one knows how old Marissa is but, due to… read analysis of Marissa
Melba describes Eckford as “petite” and “a very quiet, private person” who was always friendly at their old school, smiling and waving at Melba from across the hallways. Like all of the other members of… read analysis of Elizabeth Eckford
Melba’s closest friend in the Little Rock Nine, Minnijean lives one block away from Melba. They see each other nearly every day and share a lot in common, including a love for the singers… read analysis of Minnijean Brown
Melba describes Bates as “a petite and smartly dressed, steely-eyed woman” who serves as the Arkansas state president of the NAACP. Bates and her husband own the black newspaper, the Arkansas State Press… read analysis of Daisy Bates
A white student at Central High who befriends Melba. He informs her about ways in which the segregationists, some of whom are his friends, intend to commit violence against her. During their first meeting… read analysis of Link
A member of the Little Rock Nine, Walls is also an athlete. She is slender and energetic, according to Melba. She is “a girl-next-door type” who is always in a good mood and… read analysis of Carlotta Walls
The eldest member of the Little Rock Nine, Green is a senior in high school at the time that he helps to integrate Central High School. Green is a member of Melba’s church and… read analysis of Ernest Green
Roberts was a junior in high school, like Melba, when he joined the Little Rock Nine. She describes him as tall and thin and “a friend since first grade.” Roberts was humorous and… read analysis of Terrence Roberts
Melba remembers Thomas, a member of the Little Rock Nine, as “quiet” and “soft-spoken.” He was an athlete and a top student in his class. She recalls that he had a “subtle” sense of… read analysis of Jefferson Thomas
Another friend of Melba’s and a member of the Little Rock Nine whom Melba saw frequently. She is petite like Elizabeth Eckford, and has a “very pale complexion” and “wise eyes” that “peered through… read analysis of Thelma Mothershed
Melba’s Potential Rapist
On the day that the Supreme Court handed down its decision in the Brown v. Board of Education case, Melba was in the seventh grade and walking home from school, daydreaming of her parents’ reconciliation… read analysis of Melba’s Potential Rapist
An attorney for the NAACP and the chief attorney in the Brown v. Board of Education case. Marshall also served as the head of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. Shortly before Melba attends… read analysis of Thurgood Marshall
Mrs. Clyde Thomason
Sammy Dean Parker
Mrs. Elizabeth Huckaby
The girls’ vice-principal at Central High School. Melba remembers Mrs. Huckaby’s emphasis on “fair play” and how she protected Melba and other members of the Little Rock Nine from further abuse, such as having them… read analysis of Mrs. Elizabeth Huckaby
Link’s former nanny whom his family fired after she became ill with what Link suspects is tuberculosis. Link tells Melba that Ms. Healy worked for his family all her life. When his father got married… read analysis of Nana Healey
Melba’s husband, whom she meets in college. The couple marry six months after meeting and have one daughter together named Kellie. John and Melba divorce after seven years together over his being a “farm boy”… read analysis of John
A white, Quaker family in Santa Rosa, California who take Melba in after a call is sent out by the NAACP seeking sympathetic families who would give members of the Little Rock Nine “safe harbor”… read analysis of The McCabes
A member of the Little Rock Nine who attended Sunday school with Melba. Beals describes Ray as delicate and “as meticulous about her attire as she was about her studies.” She speaks in “softly measured words” but with intensity.
Melba’s aunt, whom Melba describes as a “real live wire.” Members of the family surmise that Melba inherited some of Mae’s feistiness. Mae is hopeful about Melba’s decision to help integrate Central High and thinks that she is just “sassy enough” to handle it successfully.
Judge Ronald Davies
The federal court judge who denies Governor Faubus’s request to halt the integration of Central High School.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
– Also known as “Ike,” Eisenhower was the 35th President of the United States. He demanded that Governor Faubus carry out the order of the Supreme Court to integrate Central High School without interference.
The Assistant Chief of the Little Rock Police Department. Melba describes him as a “tall, raw-boned, dark-haired man.” He helps the Little Rock Nine exit school safely, escaping the angry mob.
– A white man appointed by Gene Smith to drive Melba, Thelma Mothershed, Minnijean Brown, and Ernest Green away from Central High School. He warns them to roll up the windows, lock the doors, and keep their faces away from the windows to avoid assault while he drives them home.
– The principal of Central High School.
A soldier in the 101st Airborne Division who drove the Little Rock Nine home in a car that was a part of a military convoy.
School Superintendent Virgil Blossom
– The superintendent of the Little Rock public school system. Melba describes him as “tall, stocky,” and “grim-faced.” Despite the pleas of concerned parents and students alike, Blossom does nothing to protect the Little Rock Nine.
– Melba’s shorthand teacher. Mrs. Pickwick exhibits kindness and sympathy toward Melba and warns hostile students against saying anything inappropriate to her. Mrs. Pickwick is “a tiny, dark-haired woman,” and Melba describes her as someone who does not tolerate “hanky-panky.”
A violent segregationist student at Central who threatens to kill Melba and waves a switchblade knife in her face at one point. Link protects Melba from Andy by foiling his attempts to do her harm.