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Melba Pattillo Beals

Journalist, Author of "Warriors Don't Cry" & Member of the "Little Rock Nine"

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 Melba Pattillo Beals Biography

Melba Pattillo Beals was born in Little Rock, Arkansas on Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 1941. Her parents were divorced when she was seven, and her mother and grandmother — both strong, intelligent women — had a great impact on her life. Beals' mother, Dr. Lois Pattillo, was an English teacher, and one of the first black students to integrate the University of Arkansas, graduating in 1954.

Beals was 12 years old on May 17, 1954 — the date the Supreme Court ruled in "Brown vs. Board of Education" that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. Just over a year later, on May 24, 1955, the Little Rock school board adopted a plan to limit integration to Central High School, but claimed this would not occur for another two years.

When the time came to sign up for Central High, Beals raised her hand and put her name on the sheet. "I thought about all those times I'd gone past Central High, wanting to go inside... I reasoned that if schools were open to my people, I would also get access to other opportunities I had been denied, like... sitting on the first floor of the movies theater" (Beals, 1994).

Then, on Dec. 1 1955, when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Beals knew that "our people were stretching out to knock down fences of integration" (Beals, 1994). Mrs. Parks'action and the tremendous response from the community gave Beals hope for change, despite Governor Orval Fauvus'refusal to allow integration in public schools.

But it was Beals' first trip to Cincinnati, Ohio in early August, 1957 that gave her a glimpse of life without segregation. On this unforgettable trip to visit relatives, Beals went to the movies with a white friend, ate at lunch counters and fancy restaurants, walked through department stores, and used "regular" bathrooms. For the first time, white people — from her relatives'neighbors to salespeople and waiters — were friendly and treated her with respect.

Beals wanted to stay forever, but the trip was called short when they received the call from Little Rock that she was among nine black children who would be entering Central High that fall. Inspired by the life she saw in Cincinnati, Beals returned to Arkansas with the conviction that one day she would receive the same respect in Little Rock.

Of the original 17 students that had signed up for Central High, only nine — Beals and eight other black students — chose to stand up to the threats of violence and take on the challenge of integration. These nine childhood friends had much in common: they were all strong students, with strict, hardworking parents. But most of all, they were individualists with strong opinions.

The brave young students soon discovered that integration would mean a struggle to stay alive as Little Rock's segregationists rampaged and steadfastly refused to obey the law. In order to attend Little Rock's all-white Central High School in 1957, Beals and her friends faced the kind of mob brutality that compelled then-President Eisenhower to send combat-ready soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division to protect their lives.

Under the scrutiny of reporters who came from around the world to observe rampaging mobs block her entry to Central High and the explosive Little Rock school crisis, 15-year-old Beals learned how to relate to the media; she also decided to pursue a career in journalism.

At seventeen, Beals began selling articles to major newspapers and magazines. She later received a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University. She worked as a news reporter for San Francisco's public television station, KQED, and for the NBC affiliate, KRON-TV.

Beals has appeared on national radio and television shows, and written numerous articles for periodicals like People and Essence. Her latest book, "Warriors Don't Cry," tells her remarkable story of the 1957 struggle to integrate Central High, a turning point in America's history and the coming of age of our country.

Videos
Books
March Forward, Girl: From Young Warrior To Little Rock Nine

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

Warriors Don't Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock's Central High

Warriors Don't Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock's Central High

FAQs
  • HOW TO BOOK Melba Pattillo Beals?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Melba Pattillo Beals for both live and virtual events for over 15 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment. Fill out a booking request form for Melba Pattillo Beals, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Melba Pattillo Beals or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BOOK Melba Pattillo Beals?

    Booking fees for Melba Pattillo Beals, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies between live and virtual events. Other factors that can affect speaker fees include the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. The live and virtual event speaking fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Melba Pattillo Beals, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • WHO IS THE AGENT FOR Melba Pattillo Beals?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Melba Pattillo Beals for clients worldwide for more than 15 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Melba Pattillo Beals for your next private or corporate function.
  • WHAT IS A FULL-SERVICE TALENT BOOKING AGENCY?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Melba Pattillo Beals or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Melba Pattillo Beals or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.
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This website is a resource for event professionals and strives to provide the most comprehensive catalog of thought leaders and industry experts to consider for speaking engagements. A listing or profile on this website does not imply an agency affiliation or endorsement by the talent.

All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

If you are the talent, and wish to request removal from this catalog or report an issue with your profile, please click here.

Melba Pattillo Beals

Journalist, Author of "Warriors Don't Cry" & Member of the "Little Rock Nine"

Travels From:
San Francisco, CA, USA
Speaking Fee:
Live Event: $20,000 - $30,000  
Virtual Event: Please Contact

Melba Pattillo Beals Biography

Melba Pattillo Beals was born in Little Rock, Arkansas on Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 1941. Her parents were divorced when she was seven, and her mother and grandmother — both strong, intelligent women — had a great impact on her life. Beals' mother, Dr. Lois Pattillo, was an English teacher, and one of the first black students to integrate the University of Arkansas, graduating in 1954.

Beals was 12 years old on May 17, 1954 — the date the Supreme Court ruled in "Brown vs. Board of Education" that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. Just over a year later, on May 24, 1955, the Little Rock school board adopted a plan to limit integration to Central High School, but claimed this would not occur for another two years.

When the time came to sign up for Central High, Beals raised her hand and put her name on the sheet. "I thought about all those times I'd gone past Central High, wanting to go inside... I reasoned that if schools were open to my people, I would also get access to other opportunities I had been denied, like... sitting on the first floor of the movies theater" (Beals, 1994).

Then, on Dec. 1 1955, when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Beals knew that "our people were stretching out to knock down fences of integration" (Beals, 1994). Mrs. Parks'action and the tremendous response from the community gave Beals hope for change, despite Governor Orval Fauvus'refusal to allow integration in public schools.

But it was Beals' first trip to Cincinnati, Ohio in early August, 1957 that gave her a glimpse of life without segregation. On this unforgettable trip to visit relatives, Beals went to the movies with a white friend, ate at lunch counters and fancy restaurants, walked through department stores, and used "regular" bathrooms. For the first time, white people — from her relatives'neighbors to salespeople and waiters — were friendly and treated her with respect.

Beals wanted to stay forever, but the trip was called short when they received the call from Little Rock that she was among nine black children who would be entering Central High that fall. Inspired by the life she saw in Cincinnati, Beals returned to Arkansas with the conviction that one day she would receive the same respect in Little Rock.

Of the original 17 students that had signed up for Central High, only nine — Beals and eight other black students — chose to stand up to the threats of violence and take on the challenge of integration. These nine childhood friends had much in common: they were all strong students, with strict, hardworking parents. But most of all, they were individualists with strong opinions.

The brave young students soon discovered that integration would mean a struggle to stay alive as Little Rock's segregationists rampaged and steadfastly refused to obey the law. In order to attend Little Rock's all-white Central High School in 1957, Beals and her friends faced the kind of mob brutality that compelled then-President Eisenhower to send combat-ready soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division to protect their lives.

Under the scrutiny of reporters who came from around the world to observe rampaging mobs block her entry to Central High and the explosive Little Rock school crisis, 15-year-old Beals learned how to relate to the media; she also decided to pursue a career in journalism.

At seventeen, Beals began selling articles to major newspapers and magazines. She later received a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University. She worked as a news reporter for San Francisco's public television station, KQED, and for the NBC affiliate, KRON-TV.

Beals has appeared on national radio and television shows, and written numerous articles for periodicals like People and Essence. Her latest book, "Warriors Don't Cry," tells her remarkable story of the 1957 struggle to integrate Central High, a turning point in America's history and the coming of age of our country.

Melba Pattillo Beals Videos

  • Civil Rights Icon: Dr. Melba Pattillo Beals
    Civil Rights pioneer, Melba Pattillo Beals, Ph.D, one of the Little Rock Nine who turned her trials into triumphs. She is a best selling author of...
  • Civil Rights Hero Melba Pattillo Beals
    One of the “Little Rock Nine,” will discuss historic integration of Central High School in Arkansas in 1957.
  • Dr. Melba Pattillo Beals Keynote Address - Excerpt
    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Santa Clara Valley's 2008 Mover of Mountains Awards Breakfast at the Wyndham Hotel in San Jose, CA on...

Melba Pattillo Beals Books

Speaker Lists Featuring Melba Pattillo Beals

FAQs on booking Melba Pattillo Beals

  • How to book Melba Pattillo Beals?

    Our booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure talent like Melba Pattillo Beals for both live and virtual events for over 15 years. The team at All American Entertainment represents and listens to the needs of organizations and corporations seeking to hire keynote speakers, celebrities or entertainers for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment. Fill out a booking request form for Melba Pattillo Beals, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get pricing information and check availability for Melba Pattillo Beals or any other celebrity of your choice.
  • How much does it cost to book Melba Pattillo Beals?

    Booking fees for Melba Pattillo Beals, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. Pricing often varies between live and virtual events. Other factors that can affect speaker fees include the talent's schedule, market conditions, length of presentation, and the location of the event. The live and virtual event speaking fees listed on this website are intended to serve as a guideline only. In some cases, the actual quote may be above or below the stated range. For the most current fee to hire Melba Pattillo Beals, please fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak with an experienced booking agent.
  • Who is the agent for Melba Pattillo Beals?

    All American Entertainment has successfully secured celebrity talent like Melba Pattillo Beals for clients worldwide for more than 15 years. As a full-service talent booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Fill out the booking request form or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Melba Pattillo Beals for your next private or corporate function.
  • What is a full-service talent booking agency?

    All American Speakers is a "buyers agent" and exclusively represents talent buyers, meeting planners and event professionals, who are looking to secure celebrities and speakers for personal appearances, speaking engagements, corporate entertainment, public relations campaigns, commercials, or endorsements. We do not exclusively represent Melba Pattillo Beals or claim ourselves as the exclusive booking agency, business manager, publicist, speakers bureau or management for Melba Pattillo Beals or any other speaker or celebrity on this website. For more information on how we work and what makes us unique, please read the AAE Advantage.

Melba Pattillo Beals is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics . The estimated speaking fee range to book Melba Pattillo Beals for your event is $20,000 - $30,000. Melba Pattillo Beals generally travels from San Francisco, CA, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Ilyasah Shabazz, Minnijean Brown Trickey, Clayborne Carson, Bobby Seale and J.R. Martinez. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Melba Pattillo Beals for an upcoming live or virtual event.

Melba Pattillo Beals Speaker Videos

  • Civil Rights Icon: Dr. Melba Pattillo Beals
    Civil Rights pioneer, Melba Pattillo Beals, Ph.D, one of the Little Rock Nine who turned her trials into triumphs. She is a best selling author of “Warrior’s Don’t Cry”, “March Forward...
    Civil Rights Hero Melba Pattillo Beals
    One of the “Little Rock Nine,” will discuss historic integration of Central High School in Arkansas in 1957.
  • Dr. Melba Pattillo Beals Keynote Address - Excerpt
    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Association of Santa Clara Valley's 2008 Mover of Mountains Awards Breakfast at the Wyndham Hotel in San Jose, CA on January 22, 2008. In 1957, while most teenage girls...

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Speakers Similar to Melba Pattillo Beals

This website is a resource for event professionals and strives to provide the most comprehensive catalog of thought leaders and industry experts to consider for speaking engagements. A listing or profile on this website does not imply an agency affiliation or endorsement by the talent.

All American Entertainment (AAE) exclusively represents the interests of talent buyers, and does not claim to be the agency or management for any speaker or artist on this site. AAE is a talent booking agency for paid events only. We do not handle requests for donation of time or media requests for interviews, and cannot provide celebrity contact information.

If you are the talent, and wish to request removal from this catalog or report an issue with your profile, please click here.

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