Warriors Don't Cry

— A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock's Central High

It was fall 1957, nine Little Rock, African-American school children had entered a new world: the previously whites-only Central High School. Their quest: equality in education.


The following is an excerpt from Melba Pattillo Beals’ memoir of her experiences as one of nine youths chosen to desegregate Central.

“What is the price of freedom?

I looked up to see my guide entering the classroom.  Something was awfully wrong.  It was written all over her face.

“Come with me now.  To the principal’s office,” she called out nervously.

I was led to an office where some of the eight had gathered.  Two of the girls were crying.  I stood near the door, which was ajar enough so that I could hear much of the white men’s conversations.  I heard their frantic tone of voice, heard them say the mob was out of control.  “What are we gonna do about the nigger children?” asked one. 

“The crowd is moving fast. They’ve broken the barricades. These kids are trapped in here.”

“Good lord, you’re right,” another voice said.  “We may have to let the mob have one of these kids, so’s we can distract them long enough to get the others out.”

“They’re children.  What’ll we do, have them draw straws to see which one gets a rope around their neck?” 

— Warriors Don’t Cry, Melba Pattillo Beals

Winner of the American Library Association Award

Robert F. Kennedy Book Award

The American Booksellers’ Association Award

Critical Acclaim

San Francisco Chronical

“Riveting … monumentally important … a rare and eloquent behind-the-scenes look at the 1957 integration of Central High …”Patricia Holt, San Francisco Chronicle

Acclaimed Author

“Melba Beals is a remarkable woman, her very survival an extraordinary feat. Her story is one that will touch you deeply, and keep you enthralled.”
— Danielle Steel

"Warriors Don't Cry" the One Woman Stage Play

Praise for “Warriors Don’t Cry” the one woman stage play based on the searing civil rights memoir of the same name by Dr. Melba Pattillo Beals. “No one who sees this will be tempted to use the ‘N’ word as casual slang, once you have witnessed it used as a weapon of hate.”Sue M., mother Southington, CT

“This book was intense, strong and inspirational.  I love how you persevered through all of the hate, racism and abuse.  You are probably the strongest person that I’ve ever heard of. It’s awesome how your family supported you.  Your grandmother guided you through some very difficult times. I envy the way that you respond to hate with kindness.  I believe that you handled it better than I could’ve. I can’t even begin to imagine the pain that you went through at Central High.  You, and the other people in the Little Rock Nine, helped in ending segregation. I’m so glad that you integrated Central High. The country would not be the same without you. - C. M

Praise From