federal court judge orders that the students be allowed to attend.
melba’s old highschool
the assistant chief of police
against integration, didn’t want violence, for states rights, running for reelection.
sends 101st Airborne Division (a division of war heroes) in order to enforce federal law
the President of the NAACP in Little Rock. Mrs. Bates also runs a local newspaper, the Arkansas State Press, which champions integration.
Melba’s main tormentor
replaces Judge Davies because of the Little Rock integration lawsuits.
A white student who befriends Melba. Link has a close relationship with his Nanny, who is black, which leads him to empathize with Melba. Though Link helps Melba in her fight against the segregationists, he never publicly declares his friendship with her.
Melba is sent to Santa Rosa, California to stay with a white Quaker family.
The McCabes nurture and care for Melba and convince her to go to college in January of 1960.
Melba meets John (white) at San Francisco State University. Get married 6 monthes later, have a daughter, get divorced.
Melba Patillo Beals
Melba is one of the Little Rock Nine She fights racism in its many forms throughout her life.
a deeply religious woman who provides Melba with a deep sense of purpose. It is Grandma India who tells Melba that warriors don’t cry, thus providing her with the title of her memoir.
Melba’s younger brother. As an adult, Conrad becomes the first and only black captain of the Arkansas State Troopers.
Melba’s mother, also called Mother Lois. Lois teaches English at a Little Rock high school, and, at the time of the book’s events, is separated from Melba’s father, Will.
Will Patillo –
Also called “Papa Will.” Will is Melba’s father. He leaves the family before the events of the book unfold.
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Will objects to the integration effort.
Virgil Blossom –
The superintendent of Little Rock’s schools. He supports the plan for integration, but he does little to enforce it or protect the students.
Minnijean Brown –
One of the Little Rock Nine. Minnijean is Melba’s closest friend in the group. She is eventually expelled from Central for “fighting” and is sent to New York to attend school.
Minnijean eventually becomes a Canadian citizen and lives on a farm as a writer and a mother.
Nana Healey –
Link’s nanny from childhood. Nana Healey is black, and Link has a very close relationship with her.
Mrs. Higgenbottom –
Grandma India’s shotgun
The general in charge of the Arkansas National Guardsmen who are supposed to be guarding the Nine.
Melba’s boyfriend. He and Melba break up as a result of her transfer to Central.
Bill Clinton –
A governor of Arkansas, later the president of the United States.
When Melba returns to Arkansas to be honored with the rest of the Little Rock Nine, Governor Clinton treats them with kindness and respect, in stark contrast to former Governor Faubus.
Ronald Davies –
A federal judge from Nebraska who orders Governor Faubus of Arkansas to allow integration to continue.
A white soldier with the 101st Airborne Division (the elite fighting force that President Eisenhower assigned to protect the African-American students at Central High School).
Danny is assigned to protect Melba—at one point saving her from acid that is thrown toward her eyes.
Goes to L.R.C.H.
S. late. As an adult, Elizabeth is the only one of the nine to remain in Little Rock. She holds a job as a social worker.
A three-hundred–pound soldier with the 101st Airborne Division. Goggles is called in whenever any of the nine is facing major problems with the kids at school.
Joseph Fox –
A “moderate” Central High School student who attends the meeting with Mrs. Jorumn Rickets.
He is called moderate because he does not advocate violence to keep the Nine out of Central.
Benjamin Fine & Grace Lorchv
protects Elizabeth Eckford from a mob of segregationists on her first day
Ernest Green –
One of the Little Rock Nine, and the oldest of the group. Ernest is the first African-American student to graduate from Central High School. After his graduation, integration is halted for three years. Ernest eventually becomes vice president of a company called Shearson Lehman Hutton.
J. Edgar Hoover –
The director of the FBI. He dismisses Faubus’s outrageous claims that the FBI is holding white students for questioning.
Elizabeth Huckaby –
The vice principal of Central High School. Mrs. Huckaby can’t protect the African-American students, but she does her best to control some of their attackers. Toward the end of the year, she essentially gives up.
Judge Lemley –
An Arkansas judge who is assigned to the Little Rock integration case after Judge Davies is removed.
Woodrow Mann –
The mayor of Little Rock, who opposes Governor Faubus and supports integration.
A crazy young girl in Melba’s community. Marissa saves Melba from a white man who tries to rape her when the announcement of Brown v. the Board of Education is made in 1954.
Melba’s good friend—not one of the Little Rock Nine—who eventually begins to avoid Melba’s company, as she fears violence.
Thurgood Marshall –
The lawyer who argues on behalf of Linda Brown in the historic Brown v. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas.
As chief counsel for the NAACP, Marshall supports the Little Rock Nine’s efforts to integrate their school. Marshall goes on to become the first black justice on the Supreme Court of the United States.
Jess Matthews –
The principal of Central High School in Little Rock.
Melba’s shorthand teacher, and one of the few teachers at Central who disciplines the unruly segregationists.
Terrence Roberts –
One of the Little Rock Nine, Terry is a junior like Melba. Terry eventually becomes a professor at UCLA.