I checked the date she was sent to integrate Central High... 1957. That was only 60 years ago... my grandparents were teenagers. This was not a long time ago. How could such racism, violence, and unbelievable cruelty exist only a few years ago? This book shocked me, and has been forcing me to evaluate it repeatedly as it refuses to leave my mind even weeks after I finished reading it.
Melba does an admirable job writing her story in such a way that it is not too graphic in its descriptions of the violence, but yet it does the job painting an image of what it was like to live back then. Her story doesn't end at Central High, but continues onward through her life as we follow her through her university days, marriage, parenthood, and career in media and activism.
Her life is one driven by purpose and a fierce loyalty to God. I would highly recommend this book to all audiences, and believe it should be a mandatory read for high school students.
Thank-you very much to Graf Martin Communications and to Baker Publishing House for sharing a copy of this book with me in exchange for my opinion.
In 1957, Melba Beals was one of the nine African American students chosen to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.
But her story of overcoming didn't start--or end--there.
While her white schoolmates were planning their senior prom, Melba was facing the business end of a double-barreled shotgun, being threatened with lynching by rope-carrying tormentors, and learning how to outrun white supremacists who were ready to kill her rather than sit beside her in a classroom. Only her faith in God sustained her during her darkest days and helped her become a civil rights warrior, an NBC television news reporter, a magazine writer, a professor, a wife, and a mother.
In I Will Not Fear, Beals takes you on an unforgettable journey through terror, oppression, and persecution, highlighting the kind of faith we all need to survive in a world full of heartbreak and anger. She shows how the deep faith we develop during our most difficult moments is the kind of faith that can change our families, our communities, and even the world.
Encouraging and inspiring, her story offers hope that faith is the solution to the pervasive hopelessness of our current culture.