For this unit, our main autobiography is Warriors Don’t Cry, a memoir written by Melba Pattillo Beals, one of the Little Rock Nine. In her account of the experience of attempting to desegregate Little Rock Central High School in 1957, Beals reveals her perspective on a series of events that became national and international news.
This assignment asks you to compare her story and perspective with those of officials who were active during the controversy, including Orval Faubus (then the governor of Arkansas) and President Dwight Eisenhower, as well as national news coverage. The goal is to do a detailed analysis among the various sources (Warriors Don’t Cry, the Mike Wallace interview with Faubus, the Eisenhower address, and The New York Times) in order to think about what we can learn from different types of sources as we work to understand a historical event.
To organize your thinking, you should frame your discussion around this central question: In what ways were the depictions of events similar and/or different among the sources? How or why? You do not need a formal thesis statement for this paper, but your essay should indicate your answer to that question. As you write, you should also consider the questions from the worksheet about each document:
- What are main points the creator of the source makes about the situation?
- Who is the intended audience for this source?
- What is the creator of the source trying to convince their audience to think about the situation?
- How does the creator support his/her/their main points? That is, what evidence do they provide? What authorities do they refer to?
- What are some strengths of this source? What questions does it answer well?
- What are some weaknesses of this source? What questions does it not answer well?
Papers will be evaluated based on the depth of their engagement with each source and the quality of the comparison among the sources. Be sure, that is, to discuss specific examples from each source, quote them when appropriate, and discuss them in comparison to one another. (You should not simply write a paragraph about each.)
Section 01F: Essay due on Monday, October 15 by 11:59 p.m. Follow the instructions to submit via Dropbox.
Section 002: Essay due on Tuesday, October 16 by 11:59 p.m. Follow the instructions to submit via Dropbox.
- The paper should be 500-1,000 words (excluding footnotes).
- You must use as evidence Warriors Don’t Cry, at least one video source, and at least one story from the New York Times.
- You should use any other readings from the syllabus and references to lecture notes as they relate to your argument.
- You must cite all evidence, including both readings and lecture notes, in Chicago format. (See below for instructions.)
- You may not use any outside sources.
How to Cite These Sources
Melba Pattillo Beals, Warriors Don’t Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock Central High School, reprint ed. (New York: Washington Square Press, 1995), 37.
Orval Faubus, The Mike Wallace Interview, ABC, Sept. 15, 1957, from C-SPAN, https://www.c-span.org/video/?288553-1/mike-wallace-interview-governor-orval-faubus.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, Speech on Little Rock, Sept. 24, 1957, from C-SPAN, https://www.c-span.org/video/?15186-1/eisenhower-speech-little-rock.
“U.S. Troops Enforce Peace in Little Rock as Nine Negroes Return to Classes,” New York Times, Sept. 26, 1957.
Joseph M. Adelman, “The Long Battle for Civil Rights,” lecture, Sept. 19, 2018.
Beals, Warriors Don’t Cry, 42.
Faubus, Mike Wallace Interview.
Eisenhower, Speech on Little Rock.
“U.S. Troops Enforce Peace,” New York Times, Sept. 26, 1957.
Adelman, “The Long Battle for Civil Rights.”