Warriors Don't Cry

by Melba Pattillo Beals

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What is Melba Beals's purpose for writing Warriors Don't Cry?

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In her emotional and thought-provoking memoir Warriors Don't Cry, Melba Pattillo Beals tells the readers about the struggles and the humiliation she had to endure as a young black woman who tried to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, along with eight of her friends:

My eight friends and I paid for the integration of Central High with our innocence . . . The physical and psychological punishment we endured profoundly affected all our lives. It transformed us into warriors who dared not cry even when we suffered intolerable pain.

In the mid 50s, segregation and racial discrimination were very much present, and no one was doing anything to change the situation. Those brave enough to fight for their rights and freedom—the warriors like Beals—made a significant impact on history. Thus, Beals tells us her life's story to remind us how dark, scary, and difficult life was for non-white individuals and how children were forced to grow up faster and miss out on the joys of childhood because they were considered "less equal." Basically, Beals explains her purpose and motive for writing the memoir in the memoir itself:

Until I am welcomed everywhere as an equal simply because I am human, I remain a warrior on a battlefield that I must not leave. I continue to be a warrior who does not cry but who instead takes action. If one person is denied equality, we are all denied equality

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