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I Will Not Fear – Melba Pattillo Beals

I will not fear

Melba Partillo Beals tells her remarkable story of her life in Little Rock, Arkansas.  What make it so remarkable is that she was one of the first Black students to attend the all White high school in her neighbourhood.  Being that this occurred in 1954, it was not an easy decision nor a welcomed one.

But, her story begins with her feisty grandma managing to get space (the floor of a boom closet) in the local hospital to allow Melba’s momma to give birth where she could have access to a health professional.  Faith filled and feisty – that ‘s the legacy India Peyton gave to her granddaughter.

She was threatened by angry mobs, endured name calling and through her high school career, she was reminded by her Grandmother that because she was a child of God, she was part of His infinite plan.  This was a recurring challenge, but she says that she remember this “If you go only where you are welcome, that’s where other people want you to go, not where you choose to go.  You’re limited by their vision – not living your own dreams”.

This carried Melba well through her life – she lived through a short marriage, was a single parent after the divorce.  Then, knowing God was with her through those life events – she enrolled at Columbia University and that decision led her to graduate with a PHD, she became a respected journalist and writer.

Through it all, she never lost sight of what God was doing in her life, and she was keenly aware of His guidance and presence.  The final chapter leads us through the day she received the call regarding her award of the Congressional Gold Medal in 1999.  She know it was a blessing from God, and nothing she could have done alone.

A story of unimaginable hardships and challenges, yet her simple faith kept her grounded and focused through it all.  A great biographical account of a lifetime through the Civil Rights changes in America, I enjoyed this book very much.  thanks to Graf-Martin Communications and Revell Books for the opportunity to independently review this book.

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