Warriors Dont Cry 4 7 08

Warriors Dont Cry 4 7 08 - Kaitlyn Herthel April 7 2008...

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Kaitlyn Herthel April 7, 2008 Development of US II Section 09- P. Clemens As if high school isn’t hard enough for American youth, being a warrior for the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s as a mere teenager is a battle in itself. Melba Pattillo Beals shares her struggle and those of her courageous peers, popularly known as the Little Rock Nine, in her book Warriors Don’t Cry . She and the other eight black high school students who signed up to integrate Little Rock’s Central High School endured life-threatening days. These students became more concerned about whether they were going to make it home alive rather than the typical concerns of high school students like social and academic issues. The experiences of Melba Pattillo illustrate her strength, rooting from her religion and family, in her quest for civil rights and a fair education. At age 16, Melba Pattillo signed up to be one of the first to integrate a high school without telling her family. Months after signing up, when integration seemed like just a dream, she was informed that she was chosen to change the country forever as part of the Little Rock Nine. The Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. Board of Education criminalized segregated schools based on race, thereby calling for the integration of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. All nine of the students came from similar home lives- the children of professionals who were always proper and respectful. On September 3, 1957, headlines read “Faubus Calls National Guard to Keep School Segregated / Troops Take Over at Central High; Negroes Told to Wait” (30). The Arkansas governor had gone against the court ruling and the word of the government in his quest to continue instilling his own racist ideals. When Governor Faubus refused to allow the students to enter the school on that first day, the Nine truly realized the
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challenges that they would be facing. Many factors helped to shape Melba Pattillo’s response to integration. Despite being harassed, beaten, and completely disrespected by students and adults alike, she still managed to be strong and finish the year at the high school. Her family, especially her grandmother, served as role models who constantly encouraged her to hold her head high as though she was a warrior on a battlefield. With her parents divorced, Melba’s grandmother served as a protective, encouraging and masculine figure that sheltered the family from threats of physical violence. This is reminiscent of my grandmother, who always swore to me and my sister that anyone who hurt us or encouraged us to smoke, do drugs or drink alcohol would be murdered. Coming from a pious and traditionally conservative woman who never hurt a fly, we were shocked to hear that she would actually considering murdering someone. Being a single parent herself, my grandmother also quickly learned to merge both traditionally masculine and feminine aspects to be a good role model for her children and grand-children. Although half a century after Melba
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Warriors Dont Cry 4 7 08 - Kaitlyn Herthel April 7 2008...

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