Warriors Don't Cry

by Melba Pattillo Beals

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In Warriors Don't Cry, does Melba's teacher feel excited or nervous about the Brown case?

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In Melba Pattillo Beals’ memoir Warriors Don’t Cry, Beals recalls her teacher at the all-black Dunbar Junior High School dismissing students early on the day the Supreme Court handed down the Brown v. Board of Education decision.

The teacher cautioned Melba and her classmates to be careful and walk home in groups. This shows that Melba’s teacher was nervous or even afraid for her students’ safety after the court decision was made public. This is likely because the teacher understood there would be white people in the community who would not approve of segregation and might be looking to take out their anger on vulnerable black children.

In fact, this is basically what happens to Melba when she ignores her teacher’s advice and walks alone in order to avoid a bully of hers. A white man attacks and attempts to rape Melba on her way home from school, and she is saved only because the bully she tried to avoid shows up.

This foreshadows the violence that Melba and the other members of the Little Rock Nine face when they try to integrate Central High School.

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