Warriors Don’t Cry

by

Melba Beals

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Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas Term Analysis

A landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the justices ruled unanimously that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. The decision was handed down by Chief Justice Earl Warren in 1954. The plaintiff, Topeka resident Oliver Brown, filed a class-action suit against the Topeka Board of Education after his daughter, Linda, was denied entry to the city’s all-white elementary schools. The case was first brought before the Supreme Court in 1952. At that time, the Court, led by Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson, was divided over school segregation but ultimately declared that Topeka’s segregation laws should stand. Vinson died in 1953 and President Eisenhower replaced him with California governor Earl Warren. Warren secured a unanimous decision in Brown v. Board, declaring that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional, as it was in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s “equal protection” clause. Brown v. Board overturned the Supreme Court’s 1896 decision Plessy v. Ferguson which declared that public services ought to be “separate but equal.” The Supreme Court’s decision on Brown v. Board sided with the argument that the requirement of separate services and facilities for people of color indicated inequality. In 1955, the Court passed down the Brown v. Board of Education II decision, which demanded that lower courts and school boards proceed with integration “with all deliberate speed.”

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas Quotes in Warriors Don’t Cry

The Warriors Don’t Cry quotes below are all either spoken by Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas or refer to Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. For each quote, you can also see the other terms 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 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:
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:
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Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas Term Timeline in Warriors Don’t Cry

The timeline below shows where the term Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas appears in Warriors Don’t Cry. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2 
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court decides in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas that separate public schools for blacks and whites are illegal. Melba is... (full context)
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
The newspapers are full of stories about the Brown v. Board of Education case and white people in Little Rock are saying that they do not want their... (full context)
Chapter 5
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
The Cost of Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...her living room, including Thurgood Marshall whom Melba recognizes from the newspaper reports of the Brown v. Board of Education decision (whose arguments against segregation Marshall had delivered). Marshall announces that they are petitioning for... (full context)
Chapter 6
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
The Cost of Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...out to be the only students who testify, to Melba’s relief. An attorney mentions the Brown v. Board of Education decision, which reminds Melba of her potential rapist. Judge Davies announces his decision: Governor Faubus... (full context)