Warriors Dont Cry
Paper Masters custom writes research projects on the important people involved in the Civil Rights Movement and African American history. Warriors Don't Cry by Melba Pattillo Beals is an excellent autobiography that illustrates the atmosphere during the Civil Rights Movement in the Southern States.
Beal's autobiography Warriors Don't Cry offers a unique perspective into the crisis surrounding the integration of African American students into the white schools of Little Rock Arkansas. Although Beal's memoir is devoted primarily to her experience as one of the first African American students to enter Central High School in Little Rock, it becomes increasingly apparent that her role was significant not only because of her race but because of her gender as well. Even more, an examination of Beal's autobiography and Bate's essay on her participation and a televised roundtable discussion reveals that female African Americans in general played a primary role in advancing integration of schools and civil rights.
From the start, Beals mother provided the ideal example for the young Beals to emulate due to the following:
- Lois Peyton Pattillo had successfully managed to pursue and complete her academic career with a degree
- During the Little Rock crisis she was actively pursuing her master's degree.
- Beals mother was one of the first black students to attend the University of Arkansas, a circumstance that was especially relevant and influential to the challenge that the young Beals would experience at Little Rock's Central High School.
- Lois Peyton Pattillo was clearly the support that her daughter would need to survive her experience at Central High.
Beals expresses her confidence in her mother's strength and guidance most poignantly following their attack by a white mob on the first day of her attempt to enter Central High: "I knew I would make it because the car was moving fast and Momma was with me".
Beals reveals that her Grandmother, India Anette Peyton, played a major role in establishing her confidence as both a female and a black American. Peyton's immediate influence was demonstrated by the fact that she was confident that black Americans had as much right to a proper education as white Americans. Beals reveals that "Grandma reassured me that although Central High was special, I deserved to be there as much as anyone". She also impressed on Beals the importance of learning, and reading in particular, often "[reading] aloud from the Bible, Archie comic books or from Shakespeare".
Peyton was also responsible for instilling in her granddaughter a similarly firm faith in God, which would be essential to her survival during her experience at Central High School. For example, to Beals question of "When will we get our chance to be in charge", her grandmother would reply "In God's time. Be patient, child, and tell God all about it".
Beals in no way attempts to credit herself or her gender for distinctly influencing integration or civil rights however it becomes clear throughout her autobiography that African American women served as the vanguard of both movements. They served not only as active participants, as Beals and the other female students did, but also as protectors, negotiators and peace makers.