Warriors Don’t Cry is a fascinating journal of a young girl Melba Pattillo Beal’s life a time when desegregation took place at Central High School which is located in Little Rock. It is quite an emotional book where the author describes all she underwent during the desegregation in the school and her feelings and what reactions were to the discrimination and racial hatred she and about eight of her friends African- American teenagers received in 1957. Melba’s story is not a light hearted coming story; instead, it is a refraction of the hardships and tensions faced by many African-Americans in the South.
Reading this book makes one care about the difficulties Melba faced and feel compassion for the poor girl. She was a focused girl who volunteered to be among the first black students who were to be integrated into a white high school. She also desired equality of all though she wasn’t certain of the difficulties to go through. After the Supreme Court overturned their decision, Melba was attacked and almost raped on her way home. Throughout that year, she endured a lot of mistreatment from her classmates and neighbors. For instance, all her clothes were sprayed with ink and her eyes were sprayed with acid which greatly affected her sight causing her to wear glasses (Beals 46). Melba was a very enduring girl, despite all her suffering and predicaments; she managed to survive the humiliation. Throughout her traumatic ordeal, her parents were attacked and injured with lighted sticks of dynamite threatened by an assassinate mob’s rope. This heart wrenching experience helped her develop patience and courage which molded her into a historical figure.
She makes it clear that indeed all humans are equal and none is superior or better than the other. She states that “if my Central High School experience taught me one lesson, it is that we are not separate” (Beals 112). This quote is really catching, it gives a glimpse of what was burning inside her and what she did about it. Her story is like none other, it brings one into the world of a young black teen who is in a segregated world but still gets recognition for her bravery and believe in life’s equality. Though Melba was abused, beaten and demoralized, she never at any one time fought back and graduated from Little Rock Central School. Melba’s involvement in a revolution led to many activities, she never returned to Central High School. At that time when many schools closed down, the violent acts and death threats toward Melba’s family escalated. She feared much for her life and decided to move to California which was safer and a place she could continue pursuing her studies and dreams. However, her family members, the community and the church were in great support of her all throughout the desegregation which proved that things will get better through determination and hard work and some element of luck (Beals 178).
Melba’s story is one of a kind, the real definition of a champion and a soldier. Melba’s acts proved that indeed she is a conqueror and a determined warrior. Although she in due course had to leave the town alongside her eight friends, it depicts courage and bravery especially on their decision to scale the walls of segregation that ended oppression of the whites. Truly, Melba is an outstanding woman who kept her faith and fought hard to being a champion in the fight for civil rights.
Beals, Melba. Warriors Don't Cry: The Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock's Central High. New York: Simon Pulse, 2007. Print.