Saladin Bradwell CCP English 98/99-481 Warriors Don’t Cry The 1950’s a time where so-called Negros was not allowed to use the same public facilities as whites. Melba Pattillo Beals was one of nine black teenagers who integrated central high school in Little Rock Arkansas, in 1957. At the age of fifteen her life is about to change forever. The book, “Warriors Don’t Cry”, drawn from Melba Beal’s personal diaries is a spellbinding true account of her first year at Central High. I believed that Melba was molded into a warrior due to the conditions of integration.
Most of all, she was influence by her mother, grandmother, and the student, Link to overcome all obstacles in her path such as discrimination, racism, and taunting on a daily basis. Although, she was young she was able to make it thru all the pressure of integration, and that’s what a warrior will do. However, when Beals arrived at little Rock Central High, the first day she did not know that singing up to integrate an all white school would put herself, friends, and family in so much danger.
Melba had to fight one of the most courageous wars in history a war against color. This was one of the most important civil right movements in American history. However, Melba lived with her mother, grandma, and her brother in a strict and religious house hold. According to Melba “the experience gave her an indestructible faith in GOD [ and] also gave her courage, strength, and hope”(2). Faith in GOD allowed her to endure the abuse that she faces on day to day basis, integration was war, and the nine brave students, refuse to be stop.
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Grandma said, “Even when the battle is long and the path is steep, a true warrior does not give up”(3), and Melba never forgets , and these saying get her thru the school year. Lois Maria Pattillo, Melba’s mother is one of many to be an influence in her life, the mother was one of the first few blacks to integrate the University of Arkansas, and this gave Melba her motivation to achieve and pursue the dream of attending Central High. The mother Lois, being an English teacher as also a big help to Melba, she was able to gain insight into matter that at times were difficult to handle, her mothers education gives her the edge and the ability to achieve and succeed. India Anette Peyton, is Melba Grandmother she is a great influence, and of great importance because she gave her the main ingredient to succeed, by incorporating religion in her life. Grandma India is Melba’s back bone during her struggle to integrate Central High school. When ever Melba wants to give up the struggle, Grandma India encourages her to keep going .
Grandma India , fortifies Melba with faith and stubbornness, and it is grandma who tells Melba that GOD’S” warriors don’t cry”(57). This gives Melba the idea that in order to successfully integrate into the school, she will need to become more than a regular teenager. Melba writes in her dairy “Okay , God, so Grandma is right it’s my turn to carry the banner, please help me to do thy will”(102). This means that Melba is ready to accept the challenge to integrate.
Grandma India is deeply religious, she is able to provide Melba with a sense of purpose. She reminds Melba that she is a child of God and that the opinion of her fellow teenagers doesn’t matter as long as God loves her. Grandma India always assures Melba that God approves of what she is doing. She also shows Melba that there are peaceful, respectful ways of standing up to the white people. Melba is thus able to avoid the provocations of Andy and his friend and avoid the temptation to fight back.
Link, who is also a student, the most influential person that becomes Melba’s friend the son of a prominent white family, helps Melba escape from the violent segregationists Andy, who wants to kill her. However, Link’s father is pro-segregation, but shocked by the attacks on black teenagers and children. Link he helps Melba,” his winks or pleasant expression some times came just at the moment she needed to know she was alive and valuable” (254). This helps to motivate Melba. According to Melba, “having him as a friend got to be fun for both of them” (266).
In spite of his racist family Link has a different perspective on black people because of his close relationship with Nana Healey. “Who’s Nanny Healy? My nanny. She colored-like you” (271). Nana Healey is black, and Link loves her and resents the treatment she receives from his parents. Because he knows that Nana Healey is a good and loving person, he can imagine that other black people might be good and loving as well. Link is the only white student who shows Melba any kindness, and he is the only white person she comes to trust during her time at Central High School.
Link undermines the efforts of the violent segregationists,” he said the worst part of it for him was that he felt himself a traitor” (266). Link is never able to openly confront them and say publicly his friendship with Melba. Although, Link is fearful of becoming an outsider. While Melba puts aside those fears in order to do something for the greater good, Link hides behind them. He still helps Melba, but he does it in secret. What is most important to Melba at this time is proving that she cannot be defeated by the anger and hatred of the segregationists.
Link, is able to help Melba accomplish her mission to integrate Central High School. ? . Inclosing, Melba and the other eight students should be considered heroes of the war on integration, thru their struggles; perseverance many school across the nation became integrated, for understanding the trauma of her year at Central High School. She has become an adult, toughened by life and her experiences, but also able to forgive the world for its cruelty towards her. She help paved the way for desegregation in public schools across the nation.
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