WARRIORS DON'T CRY: A Searing Memoir of...

WARRIORS DON'T CRY: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock's Central High by Melba Pattillo Beals (Washington Square Press: $10; 312 pp., illustrated). In 1957, Beals and eight other African-Americans put the Brown vs. Board of Education decision into practice and tried to integrate Little Rock's prestigious Central High School. Arkansas governor Orville Faubus called in the National Guard to bar the black students; President Eisenhower ordered the elite 101st Airborne Division to ensure their admission. While these political battles were playing out, Beals spent a year in hell. In her often heartbreaking memoir, she recalls being threatened, beaten, kicked, spit upon and doused with ink, eggs and acid. On her 16th birthday, she wrote in her diary, "Please, God, let me learn how to stop being a warrior. Sometimes I just need to be a girl." Four decades later, the reader wonders how her classmates have managed to live with the memories of what they did to nine innocent teen-agers. "Warriors" is also available in an abridged version for juvenile readers (Archway: $3.99; 226 pp., illustrated).

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