March Forward, Girl: From Young Warrior to Little Rock Nine

By: Melba Pattillo Beals

Illustrator: Frank Morrison

Long before Melba Pattillo Beals was one of the Little Rock Nine, she questioned the rules of the Jim Crow South. Adults told her: Be patient. Know your place. But Beals had the heart of a fighter.Prologue. Author’s note. Black-and-white photographs and illustrations.

ISBN: 9781328882127

JLG Release: Mar 2018


Sensitive Areas: Strong language, Racial taunts, Discrimination, Violence, Sexual harassment
Topics: Melba Pattillo Beals (1941– ) , Central High School (Little Rock, Arkansas) , School integration , African American students , African American journalists , African American history , Civil rights , Little Rock Nine , Social issues , Social activists , Desegregation

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Awards & Honors

CCBC Choices 2019 Choice: Historical People, Places, and Events

Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Booklist, The Horn Book Magazine, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly*, School Library Journal

School Library Journal

Now in her seventies, Beals recalls growing up in Little Rock, AR, before she became one of the Little Rock Nine, an experience she penned earlier in Warriors Don’t Cry. In this latest, Beals describes how as early as age three, she questioned the fear and constant oppression of black people by whites and the U.S. legal system. “I sense Now in her seventies, Beals recalls growing up in Little Rock, AR, before she became one of the Little Rock Nine, an experience she penned earlier in Warriors Don’t Cry. In this latest, Beals describes how as early as age three, she questioned the fear and constant oppression of black people by whites and the U.S. legal system. “I sensed from the very first moment of consciousness that I was living in a place where I was not welcome.” Beals remembers such indignities as being locked for hours in a pantry by her grandmother’s white employer, and being besieged by angry police while using a department store bathroom for whites as her grandmother begged forgiveness. She also details a horrifying episode when Ku Klux Klan members barged into her church service, barricaded the doors, and lynched a congregant from the church rafters. As a preteen, Beals narrowly escaped being raped by Klan men who found her alone alongside the road and drove her to a gathering in the woods. These horrendous experiences, contrasted with the love and support of her family and community, shaped Beals’s determination to volunteer for the integration program that would cement her legacy as a beacon of civil rights. An epilog provides a synopsis of the Little Rock Nine, and black-and-white childhood photos and illustrations by Morrison appear throughout. VERDICT Beal’s recollection of white oppression and her rise above it will haunt readers. A must-read for teens. —Vicki Reutter, State University of New York at Cortland

Horn Book

Beals, author of the adult memoir Warriors Don’t Cry, received the Congressional Gold Medal for her bravery in helping to integrate Central High School in 1957 as one of the Little Rock Nine; here she recounts the childhood years that led up to her determination to take that important step. Fear was a constant, as she learned very earl Beals, author of the adult memoir Warriors Don’t Cry, received the Congressional Gold Medal for her bravery in helping to integrate Central High School in 1957 as one of the Little Rock Nine; here she recounts the childhood years that led up to her determination to take that important step. Fear was a constant, as she learned very early that “the color of my skin framed the entire scope of my life.” Beals vividly relates the many incidents that caused her to be afraid: the Ku Klux Klan would ride through her Little Rock neighborhood; Mr. Waylans’s grocery story was a place of constant humiliation; signs everywhere told her “NO COLOREDS”; and even church could become a place of terror (she witnessed a lynching inside her church at age five). Melba was a reader, curious about the world she was growing into. “I wanted to find out where the permission came from that allowed [whites] to treat us as badly as they did now.” So she read about Plessy v. Ferguson, Brown v. Board of Education, Jackie Robinson, and Rosa Parks, and this history helps provide readers context for her personal story. Beals’s account, made even more immediate by the addition of photographs and Morrison’s childfriendly black-and-white illustrations, stops as she is poised to integrate Central High School at age fifteen. An epilogue recounts that harrowing story; back matter tells of the safe haven she eventually found with a white family in California after the Klan offered a bounty for each member of the Little Rock Nine, dead or alive. dean schneider

Book Details

ISBN

9781328882127

First Release

March 2018

Genre

Nonfic

Dewey Classification

Trim Size

8 1/4" x 5 1/2"

Page Count

224

Accelerated Reader

Level 5.9; Points: 7;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 7.4; Points: 13;

Lexile

Level 950L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Strong language, Racial taunts, Discrimination, Violence, Sexual harassment

Topics

Melba Pattillo Beals (1941– ), Central High School (Little Rock, Arkansas), School integration, African American students, African American journalists, African American history, Civil rights, Little Rock Nine, Social issues, Social activists, Desegregation,

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