Directions: Write a minimum of 1 paragraph for each question you are answering. Each question is worth 10 points so be sure to proofread your answers before turning in an assignment

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Warriors Don’t Cry

Reflection Questions

Directions: Write a minimum of 1 paragraph for each question you are answering. Each question is worth 10 points so be sure to proofread your answers before turning in an assignment. Hint: One way to show that you are trying to go beyond the minimum is to write more than 1 paragraph per question or to answer a question in more specific detail, using direct quotations from the book.
Defining Segregation:Chapters 1-3, pgs. 1-32

  1. Melba writes,

“Black folks aren’t born expecting segregation…Instead the humiliating expectations and traditions of segregation creep over you slowly stealing a teaspoonful of your self-esteem each day.”

How does Melba learn those expectations and traditions? What does she know about segregation by the time she has reached the age of eight? What has she learned by the age of twelve?

  1. In 1954, when Melba is just thirteen, a white man tries to rape her. How do the adults in Melba’s family respond to the incident? Why do you think they decide not to call the police? What do they fear? How do those fears keep the family from bringing the attacker to justice? How do they affect the way Melba sees herself and others?

  1. What prompts Melba to raise her hand when a teacher asks who would like to attend Central High? Why do you think she does not tell her family that she has volunteered? What does she fear? How did Melba’s parents and grandmother respond to the news that she had been chosen to attend Central High? Why do you think they allowed her to attend despite their fears?

  1. On September 3, 1957, Governor Orval Faubus told the people of Arkansas:

“I must state here in all sincerity, that it is my opinion, yes, even a conviction, that it will not be possible to restore or to maintain order and protect the lives and property of the citizens if forcible integration is carried out tomorrow in the schools of this community.” (p. 28)

What effect do you think his words will have on black and white citizens of Little Rock? On people in surrounding communities? What does his statement suggest about the way he defines his role as governor?
Becoming a Warrior: Chapters 4-6, pgs. 33-68

  1. Melba’s grandmother compares Melba to a “warrior on the battlefield for you Lord.” In what sense are Melba and the eight students “warriors”? What qualities do warriors have? Which of those qualities do you think they will need to make it through the school year?

  1. Do you agree with the advice Melba’s grandmother gives her? When is crying a sign of weakness? A sign of strength? Who decides? Is it different for men? For women? For children?

  1. What qualities does Melba attribute to Thurgood Marshall? Which of these qualities does she most admire? To what adults does she compare Thurgood Marshall? What does that comparison suggest about the way she views those adults?

  1. In 1987, Elizabeth Eckford said of her ordeal:

“I remember this tremendous feeling of being alone and I didn’t know how I was going to

get out of there. I didn’t know whether I would be injured. There was this deafening

roar. I could hear individual voices, but I was not conscious of numbers. I was

conscious of being alone.”
What might have happened if various white individuals had come to Elizabeth’s aid? What

might the principal have done? Some of the teachers? Some of the white students that

Elizabeth knew from the integrated neighborhood she lived in? The mayor of Little

Rock? Would it have altered the outcome of the day? Would it have changed

Elizabeth’s reaction?

Inside Central High – Chapters 7-8 pages 69-106

  1. How do the adults at Central High, the principal, vice principal, teachers, respond to the arrival of the Black students? What effect do their responses have on Melba and the other Black students? What effect do you think they have on the white students at Central High?

  1. Write a summary of Melba’s first days at Central High. What has she gained? What has she lost?

  1. List the ways the author and her family confront racism in Little Rock in this section of the book. Which strategies seem most effective? Which seem least effective? Why?

Responding to Harassment chapters 13 – 16 pages 151 – 194

  1. Identify the strategies Melba and the other students develop in response to harassment at school. What are the advantages of each? What are the drawbacks?

  1. In 1997, Elizabeth Eckford was asked why she returned to Central High after her experience with the mob. She replied,

“Somewhere along the line, very soon (staying at Central) became an obligation. I realized that what we were doing was not for ourselves.”

What is the obligation? How do you think it shapes Melba’s determination to remain at Central High despite the hostility and injustice she experiences?

  1. How do some individuals and groups in the African American community show their support for Melba and the other eight students? Why are some individuals and groups in the African American community critical of the efforts of the nine students to integrate Central High? What does their lack of support mean to Melba?

  1. What risks is Link taking in offering Melba his friendship? What risks is Melba taking in becoming friends with Link? Why are Melba’s mother and grandmother suspicious of Link’s motives in becoming friends with Melba?

Legacies ch 16 – 18 pages 195 –

  1. What does Ernest Green’s graduation from Central High School mean to the African Americans in Little Rock, Arkansas? Why is it a matter of such concern to segregationists? The Greens secretly arrange for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and a reporter for a black newspaper to attend Ernest’s graduation. Why were they invited? What does their presence suggest about the effect the nine students have had a African Americans throughout the nation?

  1. Why do you think Melba comes to see her Central High experience as a “positive force that has shaped the course of my life”? How has it shaped her identity?

  1. What is the meaning of the title Warriors Don’t Cry?

  1. How does Melba change in the course of the book? To what experiences does she attribute those changes? To what experiences do you attribute those changes? How has her year at Central High affected the way she sees herself and others?

Responses to Desegregation – chapters 9-12 pages 107-150

  1. Study the entries in Melba’s diary. What does it suggest about the way attitudes begin to change? What kind of small gestures can make a huge impact on that process of changing attitudes?

  1. How does Melba’s enrollment at Central High School affect her relationship with her old friends? Why?

  1. How do NAACP officials want Melba and other students to respond to harassment? Why? How successful are Melba and the other students in following those instructions?

  1. Identify the various ways the word integration is used in this reading. What does the word integration mean to Melba? To the other African American students at Central High? To white students there? How do you define the word?

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