Warriors Don't Cry Essay

1287 Words 6 Pages
In her memoir Warriors Don’t Cry, Melba Pattillo Beals describes her experiences as she became one of the first nine black students educated in an integrated white school. She and her friends, who became known as the “Little Rock Nine”, elicited both support and criticism from their family members, friends, community members, military troops, in addition to the President of the United States. Melba’s experiences, while heartbreaking and sobering, highlight the strength to overcome that individuals can have over a system intent on keeping them down.
Throughout her experience, Melba’s views and attitudes changed quite a bit. When she first volunteered to be one of the first black students who would attend Central High School in Little
…show more content…
Throughout the year, Melba developed a warrior mentality in order to make it through each day. She became so fixated on surviving that she focused on little else during the school day. She also took the advice of her Grandma India and smiled in the face of her attackers. She applied the phrase “kill them with kindness”, which confused many of her attackers, which seemed to temporarily lessen the severity and frequency of their attacks.
After her year as a Central High student was over and she was able to reflect upon her experiences, Melba came to the conclusion that the adults that watched the white children torment and abuse she and her friends were simply afraid. They were afraid of change. They were afraid that the social structure that placed them above blacks was going to crumble, leaving them at the mercy of people who they’ve kept down for so long. Most of all, Melba learned they were afraid that once blacks started going to the same school as their children, they may begin to date, marry and make families with their children.
The two individuals who did the most to help Melba survive while she was inside Central High School were Danny and Link. Danny served as Melba’s personal bodyguard for the initial months that integration was implemented in Little Rock. Danny was a very important figure in Melba’s school life because he represented safety and protection. Although his motives were not altruistic because he was simply a soldier