March Forward, Girl
From the legendary civil rights activist and author of the million-copy selling Warriors Don't Cry comes an ardent and profound childhood memoir of growing up while facing adversity in the Jim Crow South. Long before she was one of the Little Rock Nine, Melba Pattillo Beals was a warrior. Frustrated by the laws that kept African-Americans separate but very much unequal to whites, she had questions. Why couldn’t she drink from a "whites only" fountain? Why couldn’t she feel safe beyond home—or even within the walls of church?  Adults all told her: Hold your tongue. Be patient. Know your place. But Beals had the heart of a fighter—and the knowledge that her true place was a free one. Combined with emotive drawings and photos, this memoir paints a vivid picture of Beals’ powerful early journey on the road to becoming a champion for equal rights, an acclaimed journalist, a best-selling author, and the recipient of this country’s highest recognition, the Congressional Gold Medal.  

March Forward, Girl Details

TitleMarch Forward, Girl
Author
ReleaseJan 2nd, 2018
PublisherHMH Books for Young Readers
ISBN-139781328882127
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Biography, Childrens, Middle Grade, Cultural, African American

March Forward, Girl Review

  • Debbie
    January 1, 1970
    This book was a memoir about Melba Pattillo Beals' childhood and is intended for readers age 10 and up. She talked about growing up in the 1940s and 1950s under heavy segregation laws and the threat of Ku Klux Klan violence against blacks who didn't submit. She mainly remembers the fear and humiliations and recounts some of her worst memories. She also talked about a few encounters with kind whites and a brief visit to St. Louis, where things were so different that she didn't want to leave. The This book was a memoir about Melba Pattillo Beals' childhood and is intended for readers age 10 and up. She talked about growing up in the 1940s and 1950s under heavy segregation laws and the threat of Ku Klux Klan violence against blacks who didn't submit. She mainly remembers the fear and humiliations and recounts some of her worst memories. She also talked about a few encounters with kind whites and a brief visit to St. Louis, where things were so different that she didn't want to leave. The book ended with her being chosen to attend the previously all-white high school in Little Rock as one of the Little Rock Nine. The brief epilogue talked about the year she spent in that school. She writes from her viewpoint as a child, so we only get hints of the a wider context of what was going on. A young reader might be left with the impression that the author's childhood impressions and worst memories represent what daily life was like for all Southern blacks. It's good for people to learn what Melba feared and endured, but her memoir only briefly explained the context of why things got that way, how things were changing, and that life was different in other areas.I received an ARC review copy of this book from the publisher through Amazon Vine.
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  • Sharon
    January 1, 1970
    Melba Pattillo Beals was a very little girl when she came to realize that people of color were treated differently from white folks in Little Rock -- and not in a good way.In this volume, aimed at middle grade students, Beals writes clearly and honestly about what life was like before Brown v. Board of Education for people of color in the deep South. Separate facilities that were never really equal. A lynching within the walls of her church. Her abduction by the KKK at age 11 -- and the kind wom Melba Pattillo Beals was a very little girl when she came to realize that people of color were treated differently from white folks in Little Rock -- and not in a good way.In this volume, aimed at middle grade students, Beals writes clearly and honestly about what life was like before Brown v. Board of Education for people of color in the deep South. Separate facilities that were never really equal. A lynching within the walls of her church. Her abduction by the KKK at age 11 -- and the kind woman who helped her escape. The unwritten rules that governed behavior for people of color vis a vis white people. Beals eventually becomes one of the Little Rock Nine, integrating Central High School under the force of Federal law and protection. Her honesty about the experiences she had growing up in the deep segregated South were disturbing and enlightening. In view of today's political climate, I feel as though this book should be mandatory reading in classrooms across the country.
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  • Richie Partington
    January 1, 1970
    Richie’s Picks: MARCH FORWARD, GIRL: FROM YOUNG WARRIOR TO LITTLE ROCK NINE by Melba Pattillo Beals, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, January 2018, 224p., ISBN: 978-1-328-88212-7“Across the linesWho would dare to goUnder the bridgeOver the tracksThat separate whites from blacks”-- Tracy Chapman (1988)“Grandma grabbed me bodily and slammed me down onto the seat beside her. ‘Don’t look,’ she whispered under her breath. ‘Turn your head and look down at the floor. Better yet, close your eyes now, child, a Richie’s Picks: MARCH FORWARD, GIRL: FROM YOUNG WARRIOR TO LITTLE ROCK NINE by Melba Pattillo Beals, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, January 2018, 224p., ISBN: 978-1-328-88212-7“Across the linesWho would dare to goUnder the bridgeOver the tracksThat separate whites from blacks”-- Tracy Chapman (1988)“Grandma grabbed me bodily and slammed me down onto the seat beside her. ‘Don’t look,’ she whispered under her breath. ‘Turn your head and look down at the floor. Better yet, close your eyes now, child, and keep them closed till I tell you to open them.’At that moment, some of the parishioners began to cry out, ‘Have mercy, Jesus!’ and ‘Take our brother home. Please don’t let him suffer. Take Harvey home.’ Then I heard the boots of the men walking down the aisle of the church toward the pulpit. When they got three-fourths of the way down, I heard the sound of a rope being thrown over one of the beams that went across the church ceiling from right to left. I peered through Grandma’s fingers as they covered my eyes. When the Klansman reached upward to grab the other end of the rope, his mask slid down a little from his face, Grandma whispered in startled words, ‘Oh, no, is that Officer Nichols? Is he one of them?’ Grandma was shocked because she had worked for the Nichols family and could easily identify him. She kept her head down and pushed harder on mine.”Most children in America learn something about the history of American segregation: Colored water fountains and bathrooms; ramshackle schoolhouses; back of the bus; balcony of the movie theater; no eating at the lunch counters. But merely learning these unpleasant facts does not mean that a young person knows what it was really like to be black and live under Jim Crow and the constant terror of the Klan. Reading Melba Pattillo Beals’s harrowing account of growing up in 1940s and 1950s Little Rock provides a real understanding of what it was like to have no rights, no power, and to be endangered and under siege every single day. To see the murderous racism and Jim Crow laws through her eyes is to understand why, as a little girl, she began ticking off the days until she could escape Little Rock, Arkansas.Learning “The Rules” and always following them is what kept you alive. It is stunning to see how Melba’s mother and beloved Grandma had to react to a random white adult unjustly yelling at or slapping Melba: the black adults apologize and grovel, having no more power than the little girl. And for another example of how people were kept “in their place,” we read about a white shopkeeper angrily telling young Melba not to touch anything because nobody will want to buy something after she’s touched it.As a teenager, Melba Pattillo became well-known as one of the Little Rock Nine, nine black students who volunteered to integrate Little Rock’s Central High School in 1957. Local reaction to the integration was so violent that President Eisenhower sent in federal troops to get the students safely into and out of the school. Two decades ago, Beals wrote a best-selling memoir of that experience, Warriors Don’t Cry.In MARCH FORWARD, GIRL, we experience Melba’s earlier life, and that daily terror of the Ku Klux Klan. We see the little girl who was so frustrated by life under the Klan and Jim Crow that she eventually volunteered to put her life on the line. Again and again, readers will come to realize that segregation and racism during those days wasn’t just about the inconvenience of needing to use the water fountain marked “Colored.” Instead, it was about constant humiliation and danger, about one’s life being as precarious as that of an ant walking across a windowsill. In reaction to the forced integration, then-Arkansas Governor Faubus closed all of the high schools in LIttle Rock. But the real reason that Melba Pattillo Beals finished high school in northern California is that she was forced to escape Little Rock because “the KKK circulated flyers offering ten thousand dollars dead and five thousand dollars alive for each of us [members of the Little Rock Nine].”For all that I’ve studied about American history and the Civil Rights Movement, I found MARCH FORWARD, GIRL to be unique and enlightening in its perspective. Young readers may come to understand that during the (relatively recent) lifetime of their parents and grandparents, many white Americans had the privilege to treat black Americans any way they wanted to. When they see what white Americans wanted to do with that privilege, they may come to a new understanding of current affairs.For example, the book provides evidence to illuminate the historic sources of the visceral hatred many harbored toward our black President. Those angry white students at Central High in 1957 who opposed integration, along with their families and contemporaries, are still alive and voting. They and their descendents are continuing the tradition of supporting state policies that make it more difficult for blacks to vote. Race remains such a divisive issue in America today. MARCH FORWARD, GIRL is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand why.Richie Partington, MLISRichie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.comhttps://www.facebook.com/richiespicks/[email protected]
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  • SundayAtDusk
    January 1, 1970
    In her second memoir about her childhood growing up in Jim Crow Arkansas, Melba Pattillo Beals focuses on the years before she became one of The Little Rock Nine. She does an excellent job, too, describing not only events, but her feelings about being treated like a second-class citizen in Little Rock. As a child, she was often both deeply angry and deeply frightened about how blacks had to kowtow to whites to stay safe, to not get lynched. When she visits her great-grandmother's church one Satu In her second memoir about her childhood growing up in Jim Crow Arkansas, Melba Pattillo Beals focuses on the years before she became one of The Little Rock Nine. She does an excellent job, too, describing not only events, but her feelings about being treated like a second-class citizen in Little Rock. As a child, she was often both deeply angry and deeply frightened about how blacks had to kowtow to whites to stay safe, to not get lynched. When she visits her great-grandmother's church one Saturday, the KKK actually come into the church with a black man and hangs him from one of the beams. No one tries to stop them, because they know they will then be killed, too. Events like that made the author realize at a very young age that her parents and grandmother could not always protect her from harm.There were feelings of happiness and belonging, too, of course. Ms. Beals was very close to her grandmother, as well as her parents, younger brother and extended family. Only, her father moves out before she reaches her teen years, which leads to even more fears about her family's safety. During one Christmastime visit, however, he brings a television set as a gift, which both raises the author's awareness of life outside of Arkansas, as well as gives her new things to worry about--nuclear war and the knowledge no black family she knew had a bomb shelter. And obviously no white family was going to share their shelter with a black family, when they wouldn't even share their water fountains, restrooms, pools, theaters, etc.There's also a harrowing night when Ms. Beals decides to leave an event and start walking home alone, where she is picked up by Klan members, along with some black women and men, and taken to a Klan gathering. It's obvious to an adult reader what is happening to the black women who are being dragged off by Klansmen, but a child reader may not understand, just as the author did not understand as an 11-year-old. No harm comes to her, though, because a Klanswoman actually helps her escape, when she realizes she's not even a teenager, but just a young child large for her age. That's the most frightening event in the book, next to the church lynching, and parents need to be aware their children will be reading those disturbing stories, since the age recommendation of this book is 10 and up.Older children need to be aware of such events in the past, however, because many seem to think those Jim Crow days happened on another planet or something. It's good so many children personally don't know what it's like to be so hated and so badly treated just because of the color of their skin; yet they still need to learn about what did go on in the past; learn about how courageous, young individuals like Melba Pattillo Beals tried to change their lives and the lives of others for the better. It's astounding what the Little Rock Nine put up with when they attended Central High, and all the sacrifices they made to go to an all white school, where they were targets of such unbelievable hatred.Finally, my only concern about this memoir is the final page, entitled "Note To Readers", which contains a photograph of the author with the white couple in California, George and Kay McCabe, who took her in at age 16, when Central High closed down due to the integration. The page was intended as both a loving thank you to the McCabes, as well as an assurance to young readers that Ms. Beals does not have "a grudge against white people in general". There's nothing at all wrong with the page's intention, except there's no talk whatsoever in the book about what happened to the author's own family back in Arkansas after she left. That page made it seem like she may have forgotten her own family back home in hateful Arkansas and just joined another family in sunny California. That's not the case, I'm sure, but it would have been nice to read, if only briefly, how the eventual death of Jim Crow affected the lives of her grandmother, parents and brother.(Note: I received a free ARC of this book from Amazon Vine.)
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  • Cindy Hudson
    January 1, 1970
    From an early age, Melba Pattillo Beals chafed against the rules African Americans had to follow in the Jim Crow South. Born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, she only felt safe when at home with her mother and grandmother, surrounded by friendly neighbors and friends. Beals tells her story in a gripping memoir for young readers, March Forward, Girl: From Young Warrior to Little Rock Nine.When she had to venture out she faced discrimination and prejudice everywhere. Drinking fountains, bathro From an early age, Melba Pattillo Beals chafed against the rules African Americans had to follow in the Jim Crow South. Born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, she only felt safe when at home with her mother and grandmother, surrounded by friendly neighbors and friends. Beals tells her story in a gripping memoir for young readers, March Forward, Girl: From Young Warrior to Little Rock Nine.When she had to venture out she faced discrimination and prejudice everywhere. Drinking fountains, bathrooms, lunch counters were marked “Whites Only.” Blacks were not allowed to touch merchandise in grocery or department stores; instead they had to point to what they wanted or hand a list to a clerk.At night, her family drew the blinds and kept quiet, afraid that members of the Ku Klux Klan would seek them out for some infraction. Beals saw the injustice of it all, but her mother and grandmother cautioned her to keep quiet. The time would come, they told her, when she could push for equality.That time came during the integration of Little Rock schools, when she and eight other students from her community attended the all-white school despite threats on their lives.At times Beals’s story is hard to read — she witnessed a lynching and narrowly escaped from the Klan — but she tells it with such candor that I found it hard to turn away from the truth of her experience. Her descriptions of the good times in her youth, events with the church community, time spent at her grandmother’s side, and accounts of daily activities, paint a vivid picture of what life what like in the 1940s.I thoroughly enjoyed March Forward, Girl and only wish it would have covered more information about Beals’s experience as one of the Little Rock Nine. Even so, I highly recommend it for mother-daughter book clubs and young readers aged 10 to 13.The publisher provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Laura Gardner
    January 1, 1970
    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 for MARCH FORWARD, GIRL by #melbapatillobeals _*_*_*_*_*Simple, direct language introduces readers to the fear that Melba experienced as a young black girl growing up in the south and also her courage in the face of horrible discrimination. This is a perfect companion to WARRIORS DON’T CRY, which is a bestseller and is read by 8th graders in my school in their civil rights unit. Detailed descriptions of her home life in Little Rock, AR with her librarian 🤗 mother and loving grandmother a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️/5 for MARCH FORWARD, GIRL by #melbapatillobeals _*_*_*_*_*Simple, direct language introduces readers to the fear that Melba experienced as a young black girl growing up in the south and also her courage in the face of horrible discrimination. This is a perfect companion to WARRIORS DON’T CRY, which is a bestseller and is read by 8th graders in my school in their civil rights unit. Detailed descriptions of her home life in Little Rock, AR with her librarian 🤗 mother and loving grandmother are coupled with intense, scary scenes in public where she wasn’t allowed to touch items in stores, use public white restrooms or be out after dark. Melba was always angry about the injustices she saw and never accepted them; it’s fascinating to see what made her the kind of teenager who would volunteer (without her parents’ knowledge) to be one of the nine to integrate Central High. This was a quick, interesting read and will be a popular book for students who like memoirs.Must-buy for all middle schools!_*_*_*_*_*#bookstagram #book #reading #bibliophile #bookworm #bookaholic #booknerd #bookgram #librarian #librariansfollowlibrarians #librariansofinstagram #booklove #booktography #bookstagramfeature #bookish #bookaddict #booknerdigans #booknerd #ilovereading #instabook #futurereadylibs #ISTElibs #TLChat
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  • Patricia Burroughs
    January 1, 1970
    Even as a middle grade reader, this is an excellent addition to Melba Pattillo Beals' life story told through her own words. Her earliest memory of injustice at the age of three lays the foundation for her life before her, when, while with her grandmother shopping, she wasn't allowed to have ice cream because of the "no coloreds" sign. She didn't understand it. It was the first time she'd been made aware of the color of her skin as something that would limit her for the rest of her life.And she Even as a middle grade reader, this is an excellent addition to Melba Pattillo Beals' life story told through her own words. Her earliest memory of injustice at the age of three lays the foundation for her life before her, when, while with her grandmother shopping, she wasn't allowed to have ice cream because of the "no coloreds" sign. She didn't understand it. It was the first time she'd been made aware of the color of her skin as something that would limit her for the rest of her life.And she was angry.That wasn't the anger of a toddler that she would 'mature' out of.It was the anger that grew from one childhood event to another for years, many far more serious and violent than ice cream.And through it all, the confusion that those who were supposed to protect her and make her feel safe didn't. Couldn't. And again, as a child she could not accept that they didn't. And decided that if nobody else would, she would.I highly recommend this book.
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  • Alicia
    January 1, 1970
    A very straightforward accounting of Beals' early years that literally bumps up against her fateful walk along with eight others into Central High School. It is literally her life BEFORE this event including relationships with her family, her experience in the south filled with so much hatred toward African Americans, including a horrific experiences at the hands of the KKK that could have turned out very different. What is lacks in captivating language it makes up for in honesty. It is a middle A very straightforward accounting of Beals' early years that literally bumps up against her fateful walk along with eight others into Central High School. It is literally her life BEFORE this event including relationships with her family, her experience in the south filled with so much hatred toward African Americans, including a horrific experiences at the hands of the KKK that could have turned out very different. What is lacks in captivating language it makes up for in honesty. It is a middle grade biography about a woman who made history. A woman who accepted a medal from President Clinton, who had to walk to school with armed military personnel for fear of death.
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  • Kylie Combs
    January 1, 1970
    Another one for school! Although I guess that should just be assumed at this point... Although I loved the story this book told, I wish it had focused more on her years at Central High or in California, but that’s more the subject of her other book, so that’s understandable. This also put more distance between the reader and the writer than I would have expected. It made it feel slightly more like a text book than like a fiction book, which of course, this isn’t either. All in all, it could be a Another one for school! Although I guess that should just be assumed at this point... Although I loved the story this book told, I wish it had focused more on her years at Central High or in California, but that’s more the subject of her other book, so that’s understandable. This also put more distance between the reader and the writer than I would have expected. It made it feel slightly more like a text book than like a fiction book, which of course, this isn’t either. All in all, it could be a great read for anyone interested in the civil rights movement, especially life before and the horrible things that happened.
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  • Christine Irvin
    January 1, 1970
    Author Melba Pattillo Beals tells the gripping story of growing up in the deep South, in Arkansas, during the time of the Jim Crow laws. She relates to readers the horrors and frustrations of being Black at that time. The story is a gripping one, but I was unsatisfied with where the narrative left off. I was looking for more information about how things work out and I was very disappointed in the lack of coverage of a major event in her life. Otherwise, I was spellbound by Melba's story.
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  • Lynn
    January 1, 1970
    Warriors Don't Cry is a book that seared itself into my brain and Beals is a true heroine. This new book about her childhood begins with her earliest memories and the fear and anger she experienced as a young child trying to figure out her world. The very real danger of the Jim Crow south is horrifying and Beals' memories are a stark reminder of what so many people endured.Eye-opening for a new generation and inspiring in this depiction of courage and determination.
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  • Joan Mikkelsen
    January 1, 1970
    I bought this to read before giving it to my 10 year-old granddaughter but I think it’s far too early for her to read this book and its terrifying true-life stories. I will wait until she is 12 and then read it with her. It’s such an important story. The vivid descriptions of the injustices Melba saw, heard, and experienced are unforgettable.
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  • Ann
    January 1, 1970
    While at church with her Nana, she witnessed a lynching by the sherriff and other klan members. They strung a rope inside the church on the rafters and hung him. No reprisals. I admire non-violence, I admire those principles, I aspire. But I know I could never have been able to be non-violent. I know that I would gone totally violent. Tough read, good book.
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  • Lgb2163
    January 1, 1970
    Wow!
  • Larry
    January 1, 1970
    An educational thought provoking read. One word sums it up. BELIEVE
  • Allison
    January 1, 1970
    Essential read. Powerful memoir of growing up in segregated Little Rock, Arkansas in the 1940s and 50s. Can’t wait to read her previous memoir Warriors Don’t Cry.
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