Warriors Don’t Cry

by

Melba Beals

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The Little Rock Nine Term Analysis

– A group of nine black high-school students from Little Rock, Arkansas who agreed to be the first black students to integrate all-white Central High School three years after the Supreme Court decided Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas. The “nine” included Melba Pattillo Beals, Elizabeth Eckford, Minnijean Brown, Ernest Green, Carlotta Walls, Thelma Mothershed, Gloria Ray, Jefferson Thomas, and Terrence Roberts. The Little Rock Nine had previously known each other at their all-black high school, Horace Mann High School. Beals attended Sunday school with Ernest Green and had known Terrence Roberts since the first grade. Minnijean Brown was Beals’s closest friend and lived in her neighborhood. The nine teenagers integrated Central High School in September 1957, at the start of the school year.

The Little Rock Nine Quotes in Warriors Don’t Cry

The Warriors Don’t Cry quotes below are all either spoken by The Little Rock Nine or refer to The Little Rock Nine. 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 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:

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:
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:
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The Little Rock Nine Term Timeline in Warriors Don’t Cry

The timeline below shows where the term The Little Rock Nine appears in Warriors Don’t Cry. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
The Cost of Non-Conformity Theme Icon
The NAACP calls to let Melba and the other members of the Little Rock Nine know that they should not go to Central until they are notified. During a meeting,... (full context)
Chapter 4 
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
Passive vs. Violent Resistance Theme Icon
The Cost of Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...people to use soldiers to oppress black people even further, just as the guardsmen kept the Little Rock Nine from entering the school. (full context)
Chapter 5
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
...Faubus asks for a compromise, which Eisenhower refuses. Meanwhile, Melba and the other members of the Little Rock Nine develop closer friendships. (full context)
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
The Cost of Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...to move his national guard troops from the front door of the school so that the Little Rock Nine can enter. Melba is struck by Marshall’s self-assurance. However, when he says that they must... (full context)
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
Passive vs. Violent Resistance Theme Icon
...the meeting with the press, a group of news reporters, most of them white, ask the Little Rock Nine a series of questions for thirty minutes. At first, questions are directed to Elizabeth Eckford,... (full context)
Chapter 6
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
The Cost of Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Melba hopes to meet Governor Faubus face-to-face, believing that he will be in the courtroom. The Little Rock Nine enter the Federal Building with Daisy Bates, Thurgood Marshall, and several other people. Melba wears... (full context)
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
For their safety, the Little Rock Nine enter the courthouse through a side door and go up an elevator. The group and... (full context)
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
The only place that will serve the Little Rock Nine and the members of the NAACP is “a greasy joint” in a “shabby section” of... (full context)
Chapter 7
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
The Cost of Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...strength to make it through the school year. The children meet at Daisy Bates’s house. The Little Rock Nine are split between two cars driven by NAACP officials. They cannot take the usual route... (full context)
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
The Cost of Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...previous meetings with the school board. She introduces them to Principal Jess Matthews who acknowledges the Little Rock Nine with a frown. Mrs. Huckaby hands them their schedules and instructs them to wait for... (full context)
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
The Cost of Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...that she has to go to the principal’s office. In the office, two girls in the Little Rock Nine are crying and the staff is frantic about how to control the crowd. The children... (full context)
Chapter 8
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
The Cost of Non-Conformity Theme Icon
When the Little Rock Nine arrives at school, groups of soldiers are lined up, just a few feet apart. Others... (full context)
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
The Cost of Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...forced smile, then directs the students to their classrooms. A soldier follows each member of the Little Rock Nine in their respective directions. Melba passes several groups of students who whisper obscenities at her... (full context)
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
Passive vs. Violent Resistance Theme Icon
...many of their friends stay away because they fear the segregationists who warned against showing the Little Rock Nine kindness. After lunch, Melba goes to gym class. The bandage on her knee is a... (full context)
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
The Cost of Non-Conformity Theme Icon
When Sarge asks the Little Rock Nine about their day, it is the beginning of “a funny round-robin” to see who can... (full context)
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
The Cost of Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...do it because if not for the “nosy persistence” of Northern reporters, the story of the Little Rock Nine and their demise would have been no more than “a three-line notation buried on the... (full context)
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
The Cost of Non-Conformity Theme Icon
The Little Rock Nine are then whisked off to Dunbar Community Center where they answer more questions in a... (full context)
Chapter 9
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
Passive vs. Violent Resistance Theme Icon
During the ride to Central, Melba asks Sarge if the soldiers feel as odd as the Little Rock Nine to be propped up in jeeps with guns mounted up front just to take them... (full context)
Chapter 11
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
The Cost of Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...Sammy Dean Parker, who was in the newspaper hugging Governor Faubus, thanking him for keeping the Little Rock Nine out of school, and two other students. While Ernie insists that all they want is... (full context)
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
The Cost of Non-Conformity Theme Icon
The Little Rock Nine gather at Daisy Bates’ house for an “official” Thanksgiving dinner on Tuesday evening. There is... (full context)
Chapter 14
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
Passive vs. Violent Resistance Theme Icon
The Cost of Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...first days of school in the new year are “frightening” because, without Minnijean, members of the Little Rock Nine think that any of them could be suspended next. Melba withdraws from French class due... (full context)
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
The Cost of Non-Conformity Theme Icon
The segregationists become more vocal. Two hundred “hard-core segregationist students” protest the presence of the Little Rock Nine by being absent from school and attending a rally held by the Mothers’ League, speaking... (full context)
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
The Cost of Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Relationships, Romance, and Empathy  Theme Icon
On Valentine’s Day, it snows and members of the Little Rock Nine are pelted with snowballs filled with rocks. Elizabeth Eckford’s father rushes out of his car... (full context)
Chapter 16
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
Passive vs. Violent Resistance Theme Icon
The Cost of Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Relationships, Romance, and Empathy  Theme Icon
...to explain that his father takes him to meetings where segregationists devise methods to get the Little Rock Nine kicked out of school. (full context)
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
The Cost of Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Relationships, Romance, and Empathy  Theme Icon
...April, the segregationists plan “to speed up their efforts” so that the remaining students in the Little Rock Nine cannot complete a full school year. Mother Lois and Grandma India still disapprove of Melba’s... (full context)
Chapter 18
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
The Cost of Non-Conformity Theme Icon
Relationships, Romance, and Empathy  Theme Icon
...school which bothers her initially until she realizes that they may have simply forgotten about the Little Rock Nine due to their no longer being present. (full context)
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
The Cost of Non-Conformity Theme Icon
...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 [their] teenage lives.” (full context)
Racism and Living Under Jim Crow Theme Icon
The Cost of Non-Conformity Theme Icon
On May 29, eight members of the Little Rock Nine , not including Minnijean, go to Chicago to get an award conferred by the Chicago... (full context)