1. Big Decisions
2. First Day
3. Inside-Briefly
4. Integration Is the Law
5. Fighting to Learn
6. Becoming a Warrior
7. Endings and
8. Reunion
9. Interview

Melba Pattillo Home

First Day

It's September 4, 1957. Melba and her mother are driving to school. They're nervous. It's sure to be a tough day. Ever since news reports identified Melba as one of the black students who will be entering Central High, her grandmother has been staying up nights — a shotgun in her lap — to guard the family.

Melba's mother parks the car and they hurry toward the school. Then they see it — a huge, raging mob of white people. Angry voices scream, "TWO, FOUR, SIX, EIGHT, WE AIN'T GONNA INTEGRATE!"

There are also soldiers with guns and bayonets. Governor Orval Faubus has called out the Arkansas National Guard. He is not going to let integration take place.

As they try to sneak away, Melba and her mother are chased by a group of white men brandishing ropes. One man gets close enough to rip the sleeve of her mother's blouse. Another takes a swing at Melba with a tree branch.

Melba and her mother are lucky. They make it home alive.