Who is Mrs. Daisy Bates in Warriors Don't Cry?

Mrs. Daisy Bates is the Arkansas state president of the NAACP, as well as the co-owner with her husband of the black newspaper, the Arkansas State Press. In both capacities, she shows strong support for the Little Rock Nine.

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As Arkansas state president of the NAACP, Daisy Bates is naturally sympathetic to the plight of the Little Rock Nine. She knows that this is an important test case for civil rights in the South, and that it’s vital for racial integration that Melba and the other students be allowed to attend Little Rock High. Daisy and her husband actively campaign on behalf of the Little Rock Nine, which makes them targets of white supremacist thugs who drive past their home and throw rocks and firebombs through their windows.

Yet Daisy and her husband remain completely undeterred. Daisy uses her position as co-owner of the black newspaper the Arkansas State Press to drum up some much-needed publicity for the Little Rock Nine and gives the students a chance to have their voices heard.

On the whole, this proves to be very beneficial for the students. However, not everything goes according to plan. Mrs. Bates hosts a media event at her home, during which Melba makes a flip comment about being served an “integrated turkey”, i.e. a turkey with white meat and dark meat. Mrs. Bates is visibly annoyed with Melba as she seems to be trivializing a very important issue. That this offhand comment was made in front of a group of journalists only compounds the offense.

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