Melba Pattillo Home
Endings and Beginnings
It is May 27, 1958. Eight of the Little Rock Nine have made it through the year. Melba makes it. On this day, Ernie Green becomes the first African-American student to graduate from Central High School.
For many Americans, Melba and the other students are heroes. They travel to New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Cleveland, and other cities, to receive awards for their courage.
But back in Arkansas, Governor Faubus is still determined to stop integration. In September 1958, he closes all the high schools in Little Rock.
Melba waits to see if she will get her chance to graduate from Central High. She waits a whole year. By September 1959, the schools are still closed, and it has become too dangerous for her to stay in Little Rock. The Ku Klux Klan says it will pay $10,000 to anyone who kills Melba.
She goes to live with a white family in Santa Rosa, California. Melba finishes high school, attends college, and becomes a reporter for NBC-TV.