woman in leadership

'A God-chosen opportunity'

The story of Melba Beals and "The Little Rock Nine"

Melba Pattillo Beals is a writer. A public speaker. A consultant. The head of the communications program at Dominican University in San Rafael, California. A devoted student of Christian Science. A mom. But she may be best known as a survivor.

Rewind to 1957. Little Rock, Arkansas. Central High School. As one of "The Little Rock Nine" chosen to integrate the 2,000-something student body of one of the 35 most prestigious secondary school in the United States, the academically gifted Melba Pattillo enrolled as a high-school junior. She was looking for a better education than she could find at her former school, the all-black Horace Mann High, a run-down repository of worn-out equipment, books, and supplies cast off at year's end by the district's white schools.

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