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Well, to understand the middle of this important book, you must understand the beginning. It is a TRUE frame story written by Melba Beals, one of the few African American students admitted, as teens in 1957, for the first time into an all white high school. Melba is twelve when the Supreme Court rules that separate schools are illegal. This book is her story of the changes in her life that resulted from that decision.
By the time the later chapters roll around, Melba is already immersed in a school that used to be "white." In my edition, much of this chapter involves another African-American girl named Minnijean. For example, Melba talks about the December incident in the cafeteria when a poor black girl named Minnijean throws chili on the white students for surrounding her, they chant, "One n****r down, and eight to go." Minnijean is suspended. When she returns to school, a bowl of soup is poured on her head, but THAT white boy isn't suspended. A fight begins and Minnijean is expelled for seemingly no reason. Here is where Central High School is "out" and the NAACP is "in" as the organization offers her a scholarship to a high school in New York.
The rest of the book, of course, is about Melba's future life. She marries a white man and has a child. She eventually meets Bill Clinton at the White House! Thus ends the beautiful frame story of Melba Beals.
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