Warriors Don’t Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock’s Central High is a nonfiction memoir and autobiography.


Melba Patillo Beals is the narrator and the protagoinist.

Point of View

Warriors Don’t Cry is the story of Melba’s teenage life, and the adult writer. Melba tells the story from the first person point of view.


The tone of the memoir is restrained anger.


Warriors Don’t Cry is told in the past tense.

Setting (Time & Place)

The memoir is set in the 1950s and takes place in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Major Conflict

The major conflict of the work is the attempt by Melba and eight other Black American students to integrate into Central High School in Little Rock.

Rising Action

The rising action includes the United States Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. the Board of Education that separate schools are not equal, Melba volunteering to go to the all-white Central High School, and Melba and eight other Black American students entering Central High.


Ernie becomes the first Black student to graduate from Central High School.

Falling Action

Unable to return for a second year at Central High School, Melba moves to California and lives with a white family. She later becomes a journalist and reports on injustices around the world.


After Melba’s grandmother rescues her from the all-white bathroom and sneaks her past the police, they drive away from Central High School. Melba wonders what it is like to go to school there. This foreshadows her eventual enrollment at Central and the subsequent struggles that she will endure.