About Melba Pattillo Beals Ph. D.
Dr. Melba Pattillo Beals’ life is defined by her commitment to equality for all and activism in the interests of social justice. In 1957, Melba Pattillo was one of nine African-American high school students to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Under protection of the 101st Airborne Division of the Army, dispatched by President Eisenhower, Melba and 8 other African-American youths integrated the previously all-white Central High School.
The “Little Rock Nine” defied mobs, death threats and physical attacks. Armed only with the practices of peaceful resistance, each day they attended school was a physical and psychological trial. Their endurance, born of a desire to remedy social injustice and seek equality in education was the first, heroic salvo in the battle for desegration of our public educational system.
Dr. Beals told the story of her time at Central High in her best selling memoir, “Warriors Don’t Cry”. This inspiring history is part of the social studies curriculum for middle and high schools across the country.
In 1999, Congress awarded Dr. Beals and her Little Rock Nine companions the Congressional Gold Medal — the nation’s highest honor — for their contributions to the Civil Rights Movement.
Her Central High experiences ignited in Melba a lifelong passion for education. After Little Rock, she moved to California where she earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from San Francisco State University. She pursued graduate studies in New York and was awarded a certificate in journalism and media from the Ford Foundation, and Columbia University, recognizing her as one of 32 minority journalists in the country who integrated the Media.
Dr. Beals’ successful career in journalism and public relations, included holding posts as an on-camera television reporter for KQED’s Newsroom, as an NBC-TV news reporter, and as a radio news talk show host for KGO, ABC radio, San Francisco. She has written articles for People, Family Circle, Ladies Home Journal and the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Magazine.
Her experiences running her own PR firm led to the publication in 1990 of her best selling book on self promotion, “Expose Yourself”.
In 1999 Dr. Beals joined Dominican University of California where she founded the Department of Communications and Media Studies. Under her leadership, first as director, and later as chair, the program grew, responding swiftly to the rapidly changing media industry. As news broadcasting and publishing industries merged with video and Web formats, the department expanded its offering to reflect this convergence. Students gained the opportunity to write across the media and learn new technologies such as digital video, podcasting, and digital radio.
Dr. Beals introduced programs that allowed students to gain real-world experiences including radio.dominican.edu the University’s student-operated Internet radio station, as well as The Habit, the student newspaper. The multi-media journalism class that created and produced The Habit received high praise from external WASC accreditation reviewers as “the best, class in the entire school.”
Continuing her commitment to equality of opportunity, Dr. Beals also helped found the university’s Diversity Action Group that helped to establish Dominican as a diversity-affirming institution. She also created the university’s TORCH program, a student support and mentoring program for entering students.
In 2009, Melba received her doctoral degree in international multicultural studies from the University of San Francisco, and in 2014 retired as Chair Emerita.
Today, Dr. Beals maintains a busy schedule writing, speaking and bearing witness to the vital role truth, equality and justice play in our lives. She inspires and informs audiences including: middle, high school and college students; community groups; employees’ unions; professional and business associations and corporations.
Two new memoirs from civil rights leader and best selling author of Warriors Don’t Cry, Melba Pattillo Beals
March Forward, Girl — from young warrior to LIttle Rock Nine by Melba Pattillo Beals HMHKIDS hmhco.com
I Will Not Fear — My Story of a Lifetime of Building Faith under Fire by Melba Pattillo Beals revellbooks.com
“It’s a no-holds-barred reflection of the physical and psychological toll that prejudice, discrimination, and hate take on a young life.”
— Publishers’ Weekly review of March Forward, Girl by Melba Pattillo Beals
For middle school to adult readers
Recipient of a Publishers Weekly “Star” Review
*March Forward Girl by Melba Pattillo Beals
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 Melba had the heart of a fighter—and the knowledge that her true place was a free one. More
For adult readers
I Will Not Fear — My Story of a Lifetime of Building Faith under Fire by Melba Pattillo Beals
In 1957, Melba Beals was one of the nine African American students chosen to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.
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. More
Dr. Melba Pattillo Beals — witness, activist, journalist, educator and inspiration
Dr. Beals is available for speaking engagements, panel conversations, lectures and consulting on communications, multiculturalism and diversity. She has delivered inspiring talks for corporations, universities, civic organizations, middle schools and high schools across the country.
Contact Dr. Beals.
“To say I was profoundly moved and touched by Dr. Beals presentation is an understatement. Her words of insight, survival, wisdom, persistence, and fighting for social justice in spite of adversarial circumstances, even as a high school student in a racially segregated community, resonated volumes of inspiration for each of us to continue moving forward with our systemic focus to promote equity and access to an academic rigorous learning opportunity for every student.” — Odie Douglas, Superintendent of Education Services, Pleasanton Unified School District