• Perspective Positive:  Review of Warriors Don't Cry

                In modern day America, we look at the Little Rock Nine’s plight the way a detective looks at a seemingly open and shut case.  The Little Rock Nine’s involvement in the racial integration of public schools appears often as a single day, single issue event.  The fact of the matter is that the Little Rock Nine represent a cause much more extensive than that for which they are often credited.  The nine are credited with much because they prompted such drastic change.  The nine remain however, lacking in credit for the greater national principles of morality they helped establish.  Melba Beals' Warriors Don’t Cry effectively compels its readers to grasp the Little Rock Nine’s role in the 1950’s social revolution, specifically the individual, societal, and familial roles.

                The individual roles of each of the nine is presented nowhere more clearly than in the book Warriors Don’t Cry.  Each of the students initially received equal protection but as the first school year continued  each experienced struggles.  The fights that went on at the high school are an example of changes made on an individual basis.  Melba’s run in with Andy and the other boys and Minnijean’s plight are terrific examples of changes prompted on an individual level.

                The Little Rock Nine were up against a society fraught with hatred and inhumanity, their role extended far beyond that of a national symbol.  Perhaps society is the most broad and highly affected group of all in terms of the Little Rock Nine.  Racism and hatred still permeated the south.  Racism was pervasive enough to warrant the 101st Airborne division to protect the kids from the mob.  A change from this rampant brutality to federally mandated racial integration was the ultimate type of change.  Society of the time had innumerable skewed traditions and generally accepted altruisms.  In Warriors Don’t Cry one main thing that Melba represented was a human being who stood in the face of a society that told her not to make it mad and did just that.  Melba and her African American constituents refuse to quit or cry.

                Warriors Don’t Cry portrays incomparably well even the role that the whole fiasco played on the part of each family involved.  The very title, Warriors Don’t Cry was derived from what Melba’s grandmom, India, had once told her.  The endeavor towards racial inclusion permeated all areas including and especially the families of the students.

                The individual, societal and familial implications of the small band of children that led the integration movement are diverse and leave the name “Little Rock Nine” sadly inadequate in description of them.  The book Warriors Don’t Cry delineates the events of the 1950’s social revolution.  Deft reference to the children as the Little Rock Nine due to association with racial integration is insufficient after reading of this book.  Warriors Don’t Cry is a must read for the socially aware, the historically appreciative, and the modern day American citizen who benefits from a racially integrated educational system.

    --Bailey Meier