Warriors Don’t Cry

by

Melba Beals

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Melba Pattillo Beals Character Analysis

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, is the subject of this memoir. Born on Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 1941, Melba suffered “a massive infection” a few days after her birth due to an injury to her scalp caused by forceps. Mother Lois takes Melba to a white hospital in which railroad workers, such as Melba’s father, sometimes seek care. The white nurses nearly cause Melba’s death by failing to provide follow-up care by irrigating her head with Epsom salts and water. Shortly after the Brown v. Board of Education decision, which is handed down when Melba is thirteen and a student at Dunbar Junior High School, she is attacked and nearly raped by a white stranger. At all-black Horace Mann High School, Melba is a typical teenager who enjoys music and wrestling matches, as well as socializing at her local community center. She aspires to be a singer and, during a visit to Cincinnati to see her great-uncle Clancy, envies the relative freedom black people have in northern cities. She signs up to attend Central High School on a whim when a sign-up sheet is passed around her class—a decision which quickly puts her at odds with both her family and the broader community of Little Rock, black and white alike. Melba, like the other students, is verbally harassed and threatened with violence for her decision to participate in the integration of Central High. She struggles through the school year, doing her best to respond with nonviolence to the threats she faces on a daily basis. Eventually, she moves to California to finish school after Orval Faubus (the Governor of Arkansas) shuts down Central in a last-ditch effort to halt the process of integration, but not before Melba has garnered national attention for her exceptional bravery and courage.

Melba Pattillo Beals Quotes in Warriors Don’t Cry

The Warriors Don’t Cry quotes below are all either spoken by Melba Pattillo Beals or refer to Melba Pattillo Beals. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon Pulse edition of Warriors Don’t Cry published in 2007.
Chapter 1 Quotes

My grandmother India always said God had pointed a finger at our family, asking for just a bit more discipline, more praying, and more hard work because he had blessed us with good health and good brains. My mother was one of the first few blacks to integrate the University of Arkansas, graduating in 1954. Three years later, when Grandma discovered I would be one of the first blacks to attend Central High School, she said the nightmare that had surrounded my birth was proof positive that destiny had assigned me a special task.

Related Characters: Melba Pattillo Beals (speaker), Mother Lois, Grandma India
Page Number: 1
Explanation and Analysis:

Black folks aren’t born expecting segregation, prepared from day one to follow its confining rules. Nobody presents you with a handbook when you’re teething and says, “Here’s how you must behave as a second-class citizen.” Instead, the humiliating expectations and traditions of segregation creep over you, slowly stealing a teaspoonful of your self-esteem each day.

Related Characters: Melba Pattillo Beals (speaker)
Page Number: 3
Explanation and Analysis:

With the passage of time, I became increasingly aware of how all of the adults around me were living with constant fear and apprehension. It felt as though we always had a white foot pressed against the back of our necks. I was feeling more and more vulnerable as I watched them continually struggle to solve the mystery of what white folks expected of them. They behaved as though it were an awful sin to overlook even one of those unspoken rules and step out of “their place,” to cross some invisible line. And yet lots of discussions in my household were about how to cross that line, when to cross that line, and who could cross that line without getting hurt.

Related Characters: Melba Pattillo Beals (speaker)
Page Number: 7-8
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2  Quotes

I crept forward, and then I saw him—a big white man, even taller than my father, broad and huge, like a wrestler. He was coming toward me fast [….] My heart was racing almost as fast as my feet. I couldn’t hear anything except for the sound of my saddle shoes pounding the ground and the thud of his feet close behind me. That’s when he started talking about “niggers” wanting to go to school with his children and how he wasn’t going to stand for it. My cries for help drowned out the sound of his words, but he laughed and said it was no use because nobody would hear me.

Related Characters: Melba Pattillo Beals (speaker), Melba’s Potential Rapist
Page Number: 15-16
Explanation and Analysis:

For me, Cincinnati was the promised land. After a few days there, I lost that Little Rock feeling of being choked and kept in “my place” by white people. I felt free, as though I could soar above the clouds. I was both frightened and excited when the white neighbors who lived across the street invited me for dinner. It was the first time white people had ever wanted to eat with me or talk to me about ordinary things. Over the dinner table, I found out they were people just like me. They used the same blue linen dinner napkins that Grandma India favored. They treated me like an equal, like I belonged with them.

Related Characters: Melba Pattillo Beals (speaker), Grandma India
Page Number: 21
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4  Quotes

I ran to my room and fell onto the bed, burying my face in the pillow to hide the sobs that wrenched my insides. All my disappointment over not getting into Central High and the mob chase as well as the big sudden changes in my life over the past few weeks came crashing in on me. Then I heard Grandma India padding across the room and felt the weight of her body shift the plane of the mattress as she sat down. “You had a good cry, girl?” Her voice was sympathetic but one sliver away from being angry [….] “You’ll make this your last cry. You’re a warrior on the battlefield of the Lord. God’s warriors don’t cry, ‘cause they trust that he’s always by their side. The women of this family don’t break down in the face of trouble. We act with courage, and with God’s help, we ship trouble right on out.”

Related Characters: Melba Pattillo Beals (speaker), Grandma India (speaker)
Related Symbols: Warriors
Page Number: 44
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

It’s Thursday, September 26, 1957. Now I have a bodyguard. I know very well that the President didn’t send those soldiers just to protect me but to show support for an idea—the idea that a governor can’t ignore federal laws. Still, I feel specially cared about because the guard is there. If he wasn’t there, I’d hear more of the voices of those people who say I’m a nigger […] that I’m not valuable, that I have no right to be alive [….] Thank you, Danny.

Related Symbols: Ethiopia
Page Number: 106
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9 Quotes

“Look out, Melba, now!” Danny’s voice was so loud that I flinched. “Get down!” he shouted again as what appeared to be a flaming stick of dynamite whizzed past and landed on the stair just below me. Danny pushed me aside as he stamped out the flame and grabbed it up. At breakneck speed he dashed down the stairs and handed the stick to another soldier, who sped away. Stunned by what I had seen, I backed into the shadow on the landing, too shocked to move. “You don’t have time to stop. Move out, girl.” Danny’s voice sounded cold and uncaring. I supposed that’s what it meant to be a soldier—to survive.

Related Characters: Melba Pattillo Beals (speaker), Danny (speaker)
Related Symbols: Warriors
Page Number: 110-111
Explanation and Analysis:

“You’ve gotta learn to defend yourself. You kids should have been given some training in self-defense.” “Too late now,” I said. “It’s never too late. It takes a warrior to fight a battle and survive. This here is a battle if I’ve ever seen one.” I thought about what Danny had said as we walked to the principal’s office to prepare to leave school. I knew for certain something would have to change if I were going to stay in that school. Either the students would have to change the way they behaved, or I would have to devise a better plan to protect myself. My body was wearing out real fast.

Related Characters: Melba Pattillo Beals (speaker), Danny (speaker)
Related Symbols: Warriors
Page Number: 113
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

A girl smiled at me today, another gave me directions, still another boy whispered the page I should turn to in our textbook. This is going to work. It will take a lot more patience and more strength from me, but it’s going to work. It takes more time than I thought. But we’re going to have integration in Little Rock.

Related Characters: Melba Pattillo Beals (speaker)
Page Number: 117
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11 Quotes

Later in The New York Times, Sammy Dean Parker and Kaye Bacon said that as a result of the meeting they now had a new attitude. One headline in the Gazette read: “Two Pupils Tell of Change in Attitude on Segregation.” Sammy Dean Parker was quoted as saying, “The Negro Students don’t want to go to school with us any more than we want to go with them. If you really talk with them, you see their side of it. I think the NAACP is paying them to go.” When I read her statement, I realized Sammy hadn’t understood at all our reason for attending Central High. I wondered where on earth she thought there was enough money to pay for such brutal days as I was enduring [….] What price could anyone set for the joy and laughter and peace of mind I had given up?

Related Characters: Melba Pattillo Beals (speaker), Sammy Dean Parker (speaker)
Page Number: 126-127
Explanation and Analysis:

As I stepped into the hallway, just for an instant the thought of fewer troops terrified me. But the warrior inside me squared my shoulders and put my mind on alert to do whatever was necessary to survive. I tried hard to remember everything Danny had taught me. I discovered I wasn’t frightened in the old way anymore. Instead, I felt my body muscles turn steely and my mind strain to focus […]. A new voice in my head spoke to me with military-like discipline: Discover ink sprayed on the contents of your locker—don’t fret about it, deal with it. Get another locker assigned, find new books, get going—don’t waste time brooding or taking the hurt so deep inside. Kicked in the shin, tripped on the marble floor—assess the damage and do whatever is necessary to remain mobile. Move out! Warriors keep moving. They don’t stop to lick their wounds or cry.

Related Characters: Melba Pattillo Beals (speaker), Danny
Related Symbols: Warriors
Page Number: 127-128
Explanation and Analysis:

As Minnijean and I spent time together that evening, I could tell she was beginning to be deeply affected by what was being done to her at Central High. She seemed especially vulnerable to the isolation we were all struggling to cope with. She had decided she would be accepted by white students if she could just show them how beautifully she sang. She was almost obsessed with finding an opportunity to perform her music on stage [….] Little did we know that even while we were discussing her performing in school programs, the Central High Mother’s League was preparing to make a bigger fuss than ever before to exclude her. But their threats did not stop Minnijean [….] Did she figure they would be enraptured by her performance? I shuddered at the thought of what the students would say or do to her if she made it.

Related Characters: Melba Pattillo Beals (speaker), Minnijean Brown, Mrs. Clyde Thomason
Page Number: 130
Explanation and Analysis:

When Mrs. Bates asked, “Do you kids want white meat or dark meat?” I spoke without thinking: “This is an integrated turkey.” The annoyed expression on her face matched the one on Mother’s, letting me know that maybe I should have prepared a speech. The reporters began snickering as they posed a series of questions on turkeys and integration, calling on me by name to answer. My palms began sweating, and my mouth turned dry. I hadn’t meant to put my foot in my mouth. I didn’t want the others to think I was trying to steal the spotlight, but once I had spoken out of turn, “integrated turkey” became the theme. “You’ll live to regret that statement, Melba,” Mother said as we were driving home. I knew she was agonizing over the consequences of my frivolity. She was right. I would suffer.

Related Characters: Melba Pattillo Beals (speaker), Mother Lois (speaker), Daisy Bates (speaker)
Page Number: 137-138
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

Sweet sixteen? How could I be turning sweet sixteen in just a few days and be a student at Central High, I thought as I entered the side door of the school […]. I had relished so many dreams of how sweet my sixteenth year would be, and now it had arrived, but I was here in this place. Sixteen had always seemed the magic age that signaled the beginning of freedom, when Mama and Grandma might let loose their hold and let me go out with my friends on pre-dates. But with integration, I was nowhere near being free.

Related Characters: Melba Pattillo Beals (speaker), Mother Lois, Grandma India
Page Number: 141
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 15 Quotes

I pretended to become intensely involved in my book. I was reading about Mr. Gandhi’s prison experience and how he quieted his fears and directed his thoughts so that his enemies were never really in charge of him. All at once I was aware that one of my hecklers was coming toward me. “Niggers are stupid, they gotta study real hard, don’t they?” he said in a loud voice. “Thanks for the compliment,” I said, looking at him with the pleasantest expression I could muster so he would believe I wasn’t annoyed. “Study hard now, nigger bitch, but you gotta leave this place sometime, and then we got you.” “Thank you,” I said again, a mask of fake cheer on my face. He seemed astonished as he slowly started to back away. I felt myself smiling inside. As Grandma India said, turning the other cheek could be difficult […] it was also beginning to be a lot of fun.

Related Characters: Melba Pattillo Beals (speaker), Grandma India
Related Symbols: Warriors
Page Number: 181
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 17 Quotes

Meanwhile Mrs. Huckaby, the woman I considered to be somewhat near fair and rational about the whole situation, had lapsed back into her attitude of trying to convince me there was nothing going on […]. I was seeing things; was I being too sensitive; did I have specific details? When she stopped behaving in a reasonable way, she took away the only point of reference I had […]. I supposed that she must be under an enormous weight and doing her best […]. But once again I had to accept the fact that I shouldn’t be wasting my time or energy hoping anyone would listen to my reports. I was on my own.

Related Characters: Melba Pattillo Beals (speaker), Mrs. Elizabeth Huckaby
Related Symbols: Warriors
Page Number: 195-196
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 18 Quotes

Early on Wednesday morning, I built a fire in the metal trash barrel in the backyard, fueled by my school papers. Grandma said it would be healing to write and destroy all the names of people I disliked at Central High: teachers, students, anyone who I thought had wronged me […]. Grandma India stood silent by my side as I fed the flame and spoke their names and forgave them […]. Finally she said, “Later, you’ll be grateful for the courage it built inside you and for the blessing it will bring.” Grateful, I thought. Never. How could I be grateful for being at Central High? But I knew she was always right.

Related Characters: Melba Pattillo Beals (speaker), Grandma India (speaker)
Related Symbols: Ethiopia, Warriors
Page Number: 213-214
Explanation and Analysis:

In 1962, when I had attended the mostly white San Francisco State University for two years, I found myself living among an enclave of students where I was the only person of color. I was doing it again integrating a previously all-white residence house, even though I had other options. I had been taken there as a guest, and someone said the only blacks allowed there were cooks. So, of course, I made application and donned my warrior garb because it reminded me of the forbidden fences of segregation in Little Rock.

Related Characters: Melba Pattillo Beals (speaker)
Related Symbols: Warriors
Page Number: 220
Explanation and Analysis:
Epilogue Quotes

And yet all this pomp and circumstance and the presence of my eight colleagues does not numb the pain I feel at entering Central High School, a building I remember only as a hellish torture chamber. I pause to look up at this massive school—two blocks square and seven stories high, a place that was meant to nourish us and prepare us for adulthood. But because we dared to challenge the Southern tradition of segregation, this school became, instead, a furnace that consumed our youth and forged us into reluctant warriors.

Related Characters: Melba Pattillo Beals (speaker)
Related Symbols: Warriors
Page Number: 224
Explanation and Analysis:

“How does the city look to you now?” I answer the question to myself. Very different from when I lived here. Today I could not find my way around its newly built freeways, its thriving industrial complexes, its racially mixed, upscale suburban sprawl. It is a town that now boasts a black woman mayor. My brother, Conrad, is the first and only black captain of the Arkansas State Troopers—the same troopers that held me at bay as a teenager when I tried to enter Central.

Related Characters: Melba Pattillo Beals (speaker), Conrad
Page Number: 225
Explanation and Analysis:
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Melba Pattillo Beals Character Timeline in Warriors Don’t Cry

The timeline below shows where the character Melba Pattillo Beals appears in Warriors Don’t Cry. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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Melba Pattillo Beals’s grandmother, India, believes that the Pattillo family is special. Due to their “good... (full context)
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Melba is born on December 7, 1941 on Pearl Harbor Day. Lois’s doctor injures Melba’s scalp,... (full context)
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Two days after the operation, Melba comes down with a fever of 106 and starts convulsing. A black janitor finds Lois... (full context)
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By the time Melba is four years old she starts asking questions about segregation, “which neither [her] mother nor... (full context)
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Melba grows up in a “big, old, white wood-frame house at 1121 Cross Street.” During her... (full context)
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...her years “as a maid in white ladies’ kitchens on Park Hill.” During one of Melba’s private talks with her grandmother in India’s garden, Melba says that she wishes to exchange... (full context)
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Melba’s father, Howell, works on the Missouri Pacific Railroad “as a hostler’s helper.” Lois constantly encourages... (full context)
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As Melba grows older, she notices how the adults around her live “with constant fear and apprehension.”... (full context)
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...Bible and reads the following verse: “And Ethiopia shall stretch forth her wings.” She tells Melba that her life will be different. Melba is anxious for the change that her grandmother... (full context)
Chapter 2 
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...of Education of Topeka, Kansas that separate public schools for blacks and whites are illegal. Melba is twelve years old. Her teacher at Dunbar Junior High School dismisses her class early... (full context)
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...Court verdict, radio announcers talk a lot about Little Rock. They describe a place that Melba does not quite recognize—a place where blacks and whites get along peacefully and black people... (full context)
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Melba enters the persimmon field deep in her thoughts about integration, her parents’ divorce, and daydreams... (full context)
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When they arrive at Melba’s house, her brother, Conrad, sees her first and wonders about what happened to her face... (full context)
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Grandma India tells Melba not to tell anyone about nearly being raped, especially not Conrad. She tells Melba to... (full context)
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One day, Melba’s teacher at Horace Mann High asks if anyone would like to go to Central and... (full context)
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...for an injunction to keep the Little Rock school board from carrying out its plan. Melba figures that the white mothers will succeed in keeping her out of Central, so she... (full context)
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Melba prepares to go to Cincinnati, Ohio with Mother Lois, Grandma India, and Conrad to visit... (full context)
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They get a phone call from Melba’s father, saying that Melba has been chosen to integrate Central. A news announcer says that... (full context)
Chapter 3
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When Melba arrives home, her life changes immediately. She notices that plans for integration “[consume] the energy... (full context)
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...other students include Ernest Green, the eldest, Terrence Roberts, Jefferson Thomas, Elizabeth Eckford, Thelma Mothershed, Melba’s “special friend” Minnijean Brown, Carlotta Walls, and Gloria Ray. They all come from strict families... (full context)
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On Labor Day, Melba gathers with the rest of the family at her Auntie Mae’s house “for the last... (full context)
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...Grandma India decides to keep watch overnight with her shotgun, which she nicknames “Mr. Higgenbottom.” Melba begins to wonder if attending Central is a good idea and starts thinking again about... (full context)
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The NAACP calls to let Melba and the other members of the Little Rock Nine know that they should not go... (full context)
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On the morning before Melba’s first day at school, the family sits down for breakfast and Grandma India leads a... (full context)
Chapter 4 
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Mother Lois drives Melba to school. On their way, they see many of their neighbors standing outside on the... (full context)
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Melba sees large crowds of white people lining the curb, stretching for a distance of two... (full context)
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Though Melba and Mother Lois try to get through the angry crowd without attracting attention, a white... (full context)
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While driving, Melba sees that the streets are full of people whom she knows do not live in... (full context)
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Lois tells Melba not to discuss with anyone what happened outside of Central that morning. She also forbids... (full context)
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Minnijean Brown calls and asks where Melba was when the students tried to enter Central earlier in the day. Melba explains that... (full context)
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The phone rings again. Grandma India answers and tells Melba that she thinks it is Vince on the other end. Melba excitedly rushes to the... (full context)
Chapter 5
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Melba starts each day following news about integration. Aside from that, she tries to maintain some... (full context)
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...are held in Robinson Auditorium, a space usually reserved for whites only. During the matches, Melba would usually go to get a drink at the soft-drink stand and would see Vince... (full context)
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Melba sees a picture of Elizabeth Eckford in the Sunday newspaper. The photo is part of... (full context)
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Melba marks the ad as the beginning of a great Sunday that just keeps getting better.... (full context)
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In the newspaper, Melba reads about plans for a conference between Governor Faubus, President Eisenhower, and members of Eisenhower’s... (full context)
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...and important-looking men” from the NAACP sit in her living room, including Thurgood Marshall whom Melba recognizes from the newspaper reports of the Brown v. Board of Education decision (whose arguments... (full context)
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...Elizabeth Eckford, then to all of them. After the main session, in which reporters ask Melba how she feels about going back to Central and ask Lois how a mother could... (full context)
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...through the streets,” preying on people who walk alone in isolated areas or at night. Melba feels the tension at home and finds it hard to concentrate. Thoughts of Vince offer... (full context)
Chapter 6
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Melba hopes to meet Governor Faubus face-to-face, believing that he will be in the courtroom. The... (full context)
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...side door and go up an elevator. The group and their escorts are jammed inside. Melba sweats and struggles to breathe. The doors open to a sea of photographers trying to... (full context)
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...students who, he says, were selected “on the basis of scholarship, personal conduct, and health.” Melba wonders if he knows about Thelma’s heart condition. Ernest Green and Elizabeth Eckford turn out... (full context)
Chapter 7
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Melba worries that integration will be halted again. At the same time, she prays for the... (full context)
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Inside of the school, the shouting and harassment worsens. Melba notes that the inside of the school feels like a museum. It is the largest... (full context)
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The students notice that none of them have the same homeroom or shared classes. When Melba questions this, a man sitting behind the long desk says, in a mean, booming voice,... (full context)
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When Melba enters her first class, a hush falls over the room. She walks toward an empty... (full context)
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Melba runs inside, looking for the office. She bumps into people who hit her and call... (full context)
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As Melba settles into shorthand class, her guide reappears and says that she has to go to... (full context)
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Grandma India rushes out of the front door to greet Melba. The alarmed neighbors stand outside and ask if Melba is all right. One, Mrs. Floyd,... (full context)
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Melba learns that, even after the students are safely out of the school, the mob continues... (full context)
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Conrad rushes in next to greet Melba. His friend, Clark, had told him that she was dead. The family reads a copy... (full context)
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In the article, Melba talks about being glad that she went to Central that morning, despite her experience being... (full context)
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After Melba writes the article, she acknowledges to herself that she has not told the whole truth,... (full context)
Chapter 8
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...business. They are from the Office of the United States. They urge Lois to allow Melba to go back to school, assuring her that Melba will be protected. (full context)
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...fifty soldiers from the 101st Division, nicknamed the “Screaming Eagle” Division. People stand around watching. Melba recognizes some ministers from the community’s churches and several of them smile and nod at... (full context)
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...that it is “crowd control”—keeping the mob away. The soldiers surround the Little Rock Nine. Melba looks at her friends; they, too, are impressed by the display of military power. Melba... (full context)
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In the English class, the teacher tells Melba to sit near the door where Danny can see her. A “tall, dark-haired boy” begins... (full context)
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On the way to Mrs. Pickwick’s classroom, Melba stops to use the restroom. Danny leans against a wall, “across from the bathroom door.”... (full context)
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Danny takes Melba to Mrs. Huckaby’s office. Carlotta and Thelma are already there. Mrs. Huckaby says that, from... (full context)
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Over lunch, a couple of friendly white girls sit with Melba, Thelma, and Carlotta. They say that many of their friends stay away because they fear... (full context)
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Danny greets Melba at the end of class and leads her through an isolated passage where they are... (full context)
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Melba goes to French class next. There is no heckling; some students even smile. Melba is... (full context)
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...it is like inside of the school and how they are treated. One reporter asks Melba if she would like to be white. Without missing a beat, Melba asks if the... (full context)
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Stan Opotowiski of the New York Post asks Melba if she can write as well as she speaks and offers her an opportunity to... (full context)
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...to Dunbar Community Center where they answer more questions in a more formal setting. When Melba arrives home, there are still more reporters on her front porch. Some of them talk... (full context)
Chapter 9
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During the ride to Central, Melba asks Sarge if the soldiers feel as odd as the Little Rock Nine to be... (full context)
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Melba goes to the principal’s office to report her abuse, but a female clerk sitting behind... (full context)
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Melba spends the rest of the day enduring the pranks, then gets in the convoy where... (full context)
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...the school due to an upcoming football game with Baton Rouge High School—Central’s archrival. While Melba is walking through one of Central’s cavernous halls, Danny screams for her to look out.... (full context)
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After gym class, Danny tells Melba that she will be going to her first pep rally and he cannot go into... (full context)
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When the rally is over and Melba moves to exit with the other students, she is shoved backward by a strong hand,... (full context)
Chapter 10
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Melba gets up very early on Saturdays to claim time for herself listening to records, reading... (full context)
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Mother Lois announces that Vince called to ask if Melba could go with him to church on Sunday, then out for a bite to eat.... (full context)
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On Sunday night, Melba is unable to sleep. She is still excited from her date and worried that Danny... (full context)
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...They plan a belligerent protest. Danny resumes his security duties and, on Thursday morning, follows Melba down a hall when a boy flashes “a shiny black object” in Melba’s face that... (full context)
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An optometrist examines Melba and covers her eyes with a soothing substance and patches. He also says that she... (full context)
Chapter 11
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Melba becomes so overwhelmed with the task of keeping herself safe that she falls ill. It... (full context)
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...the newspaper reads that half of the 101st will return to their base in Kentucky. Melba realizes that she can only depend on herself for protection and adopts the attitude of... (full context)
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...meaningless comments.” Mother Lois is angry and embarrassed but finally takes her seat. It upsets Melba to see her mother disrespected and it bothers her that the others, especially the black... (full context)
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Minnijean Brown goes to Melba’s house in November to show a picture of Melba in Life magazine. The two of... (full context)
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Melba is surprised when she is invited to give a speech to students who attend chapel... (full context)
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...India asks Conrad to give up his train, which he insists on keeping, and uses Melba’s example of giving up “her favorite blouse” to encourage him. He responds by saying that... (full context)
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...about offering Minnijean the opportunity” and, therefore, were not clear about the terms of participating. Melba and Thelma try their best to console her. (full context)
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On Monday, November 25, Melba prepares to speak to 250 students gathered for Central High’s early morning chapel service. At... (full context)
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...Bates asks if the students want “white meat or dark meat” and, speaking without thinking, Melba says that it is “an integrated turkey.” Mrs. Bates and Mother Lois get an annoyed... (full context)
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The day before Thanksgiving break, Danny breaks the rules by coming up close to Melba and telling her to take care of herself and be careful. She realizes that he... (full context)
Chapter 12
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Melba’s “sweet sixteen” is approaching. While entering the school, she dreams of the freedom that will... (full context)
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...a second battle to appear with the choral group in the Christmas program. Thelma and Melba try to talk her out of it, to no avail. (full context)
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Minnijean is the only member of the Little Rock Nine whom Melba invites to her birthday party. She excludes others so that she can feel more like... (full context)
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Vince is her first guest at the party. He offers Melba a gift of “tiny gold hoop earrings.” After an hour, no guests arrive. Then, Melba’s... (full context)
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Melba’s feelings are doubly hurt, for no one comes to her party and no one invites... (full context)
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...get the Little Rock Nine out of the school before the end of the year. Melba is exhausted but looking forward to Christmas. On Tuesday, December 17, one day before vacation,... (full context)
Chapter 13
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...a door for the segregationists to try to push them all out. One early evening, Melba and Mother Lois prepare to attend a Christmas party held by the National Organization of... (full context)
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Melba’s father, Howell, whom she calls “Papa Will,” also comes over for the holiday. When he... (full context)
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Melba decides not to talk about Central at Christmas, despite her family’s overwhelming interest. She wants... (full context)
Chapter 14
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...members of the Little Rock Nine think that any of them could be suspended next. Melba withdraws from French class due to an inability to concentrate and she worries about her... (full context)
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Soon, Melba becomes depressed. When she starts to wish for death, Grandma India says that this would... (full context)
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Mother Lois suggests that Melba extend Vince a standing invitation to come to Sunday supper. He agrees and comes by,... (full context)
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One morning before school, a boy throws raw eggs on Melba. She returns home to clean up. Melba is embarrassed and Grandma India suggests introducing mind... (full context)
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...father rushes out of his car to rescue them and he also gets hit. When Melba arrives home, Grandma India presents her with a Valentine’s Day card from Vince whom Melba... (full context)
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...called New Lincoln and to stay with the family of the renowned psychologist Kenneth Clark. Melba knows that she will miss Minnijean, but she is also a bit jealous of her... (full context)
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By the beginning of March, Melba has sunk into a state of hopelessness. One day, while at school, she is jolted... (full context)
Chapter 15
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When Melba arrives home, Grandma India is concerned about her having a white boy’s car. Mother Lois... (full context)
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On her way to lunch, Melba goes to her locker and sees that it has been broken into and someone dumped... (full context)
Chapter 16
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Melba goes home and excitedly tells Grandma India how she tried “some of the things Gandhi... (full context)
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Grandma India and Mother Lois still wonder about Link’s motives. Melba’s grandmother suggests that he could be trying to lure her into a trap for the... (full context)
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Soon, Melba and Link become secret friends. He still feels loyal to his family and friends who... (full context)
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Easter arrives. Melba is excited to dress up for the holiday, though Grandma India resists Melba’s urge to... (full context)
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...fumes over how unfair it is, given all of his hard work. He suggests that Melba do an interview, saying that the students were “not such bad people.” She insists on... (full context)
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...out for students who try to hand her election pamphlets to publicize upcoming school elections. Melba notices how much more sophisticated Central’s student elections are compared to those at Horace Mann.... (full context)
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Link and Melba’s conversations become more relaxed and he starts to tell her about his family. His father... (full context)
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Melba reads an article in the Arkansas Gazette saying that Judge Harry Lemley of Hope, Arkansas... (full context)
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During church dinner at Easter, Melba and Vince sit together, but it becomes clear to her that they have little in... (full context)
Chapter 17
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The segregationists’ campaign against the black students intensifies. Worse, when Melba goes to Mrs. Huckaby to complain, she tries to convince Melba that nothing is wrong... (full context)
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On Saturday morning, Melba gets a call from Link. He says that he needs her help. He tells her... (full context)
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Melba and Link enter Nana Healey’s “tiny, bare shack” which is “spotlessly clean.” Nana Healey is... (full context)
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Melba finds a black doctor who goes to see Nana Healey and reports that she does... (full context)
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...of school are stressful. Link warns about the segregationists doing something to someone’s family, but Melba worries about a boy in study hall who threatens to throw her out of a... (full context)
Chapter 18
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...offers her a transfer to Oklahoma as her only option. He also mentions that, if Melba withdraws from school, they could talk about renewing her contract and giving her “a handsome... (full context)
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Over the next few days, Melba is anxious for the news story about Mother Lois’s job loss to be printed. Finally,... (full context)
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...switchblade while a soldier in the National Guard looks on and issues a faint reprimand. Melba misses Danny. Andy has started chasing her from the gym to the dark hallway connected... (full context)
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Melba’s last day at Central feels like any other day. Early on Wednesday morning, she builds... (full context)
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...The newspapers report that Ernest’s diploma cost half a million dollars in tax funds, but Melba knows that it cost the Little Rock Nine their “innocence and a precious year of... (full context)
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...and says that Nana Healey died on the day of his graduation. He then asks Melba to move with him to Massachusetts, where he will attend college. Melba insists that she... (full context)
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...community, squeezing people financially by pushing them out of their jobs. During what would be Melba’s senior year, she waits for legislators, the NAACP, and Governor Faubus to resolve the entanglement... (full context)
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...will provide the remaining five students with safe harbor and the chance to finish school. Melba moves in with the McCabes of Santa Rosa, California. Dr. George McCabe is a professor... (full context)
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...students are permitted entry—Carlotta Walls and Jefferson Thomas, who graduate from the school. In 1962, Melba attends San Francisco State University where she integrates a previously all-white residence house. (full context)
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One evening, Melba meets a brown-haired soldier “wearing olive-drab fatigues.” He reminds her of Danny. His name is... (full context)
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Melba attends Columbia University’s School of Journalism and becomes a reporter working for an NBC affiliate... (full context)
Epilogue
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...successful careers. All of them have children and they bring their children to the event. Melba feels that their relationships with one another have not changed. For Melba, meeting them again... (full context)
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...they, too, would do the same thing. When it is time to re-enter the school, Melba has a mild panic attack. The doors swing open and an impeccably-dressed black student emerges... (full context)