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

Inside — Briefly

Governor Faubus and the Little Rock School Board go to court to stop integration at Central High School. Thurgood Marshall, a lawyer famous for working for the NAACP, argues for Melba and the other students. The judge rules that integration should continue.

On September 23, 1957, Melba finally steps inside Central High. She enters through a back door, with local police and state troopers guarding her. There's a screaming mob outside again today. Still, she has made it inside.

It's a short, terrifying school day. Just before noon, the mob breaks through the barricades. They threaten to take over the school and hang the black students. The police know they're outnumbered. They've got to get those nine kids out — now!

Melba and her friends are led to the basement garage. Crouching low in the back of a car, Melba is driven to safety. It's the third time she has nearly been killed over integration.