I cannot imagine what it must have been like to be a African American female teen growing up in the 1950s in Little Rock, Arkansas. Beals was one of the nine students chosen by the NAACP to attend the all white Central High School in 1957. It was a federally mandated integration that the whites violently opposed.
The account of Beals' experiences is heartbreaking. She repeatedly shares how she relied on God's strength to endure the threats, name calling, and other mistreatment. In so many cases there was no humans to help and only her faith in God sustained her. She writes of the inspiration from her grandmother, reminding her to keep her focus on what this would mean to future generations of African Americans, Asians, and Mexicans.
Because the governor had a private all white school built and closed all the public schools in Little Rock, the NCAAP found a family to sponsor Beals in California. She was amazed at her acceptance in the schools there. She writes of how she went on to marry, divorce, finish her schooling, and enter a broadcasting career and later being a professor.
Even in her adult life, Beals had repeated times of having to rely on her faith in God for her safety and that of her children. She is one tough woman. As she pursued her education and career, she still experienced discrimination - even as an older woman trying to rent or buy a home.
I recommend this book to those who desire to understand the personal experiences of one of the Little Rock Nine. It is an encouraging account of trusting God and relying on faith in disturbing times.
You can read an excerpt here.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Melba Patillo Beals is a recipient of this country's highest honor, the Congressional Gold Medal, for her role, as a fifteen-year-old, in the integration of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. A retired university professor with a doctorate in International Multicultural Education, she is a former KQED television broadcaster, NBC television news reporter, ABC radio talk show host, and writer for various magazines. Her Warriors Don't Cry has been in print for more than twenty years, has sold more than one million copies, and was the winner of the American Library Association Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, and the American Booksellers' Association Award. She lives in San Francisco and is the mother of three adult children.
Revell, 208 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.