I Will Not Fear—My Story of a Lifetime of Building Faith under Fire by Melba Beals
In 1957, Melba Beals was one of the nine African American students chosen to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.
But her story of overcoming didn’t start—or end—there.
While her white schoolmates were planning their senior prom, Melba was facing the business end of a double-barreled shotgun, being threatened with lynching by rope-carrying tormentors, and learning how to outrun white supremacists who were ready to kill her rather than sit beside her in a classroom. Only her faith in God sustained her during her darkest days and helped her become a civil rights warrior, an NBC television news reporter, a magazine writer, a professor, a wife, and a mother.
In I Will Not Fear, Beals takes you on an unforgettable journey through terror, oppression, and persecution, highlighting the kind of faith we all need to survive in a world full of heartbreak and anger. She shows how the deep faith we develop during our most difficult moments is the kind of faith that can change our families, our communities, and even the world.
Encouraging and inspiring, her story offers hope that faith is the solution to the pervasive hopelessness of our current culture.
Melba Pattillo Beals is a recipient of this country’s highest honor, the Congressional Gold Medal, for her role, as a fifteen-year-old, in the integration of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. A retired university professor with a doctorate in International Multicultural Education, she is a former KQED television broadcaster, NBC television news reporter, ABC radio talk show host, and writer for various magazines, including Family Circle and People. Beals’s Warriors Don’t Cry has been in print for more than twenty years, has sold more than one million copies, and was the winner of the American Library Association Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, and the American Booksellers’ Association Award. She lives in San Francisco and is the mother of three adult children.
“When young people face situations that threaten to rob them of their confidence in themselves and in humanity in general, the result can be devastating for a lifetime. However, Melba Pattillo Beals’s book I Will Not Fear quite powerfully presents the lessons in Christian faith that the author learned as a teen faced with fear, humiliation, and outright violence as she helped integrate the Little Rock, Arkansas, public schools. Melba traces how the sound, godly wisdom instilled by her grandmother helped her overcome the adversities of being among the Little Rock Nine and served as a lifetime reminder that God is indeed ‘as close as your skin.’ Her story encourages selflessness and a persistent confidence that God can and will work things out for his children, in his timing—whether it is reconciliation among people of different ethnicities or feeling helpless when your child is in imminent danger. It is a must-read for teens, their parents, grandparents, and everyone else! I highly recommend it!” — Dr. John M. Perkins, founder and president emeritus of the John & Vera Mae Perkins Foundation and cofounder of the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA)