For the past couple of weeks we have been reading Warriors Don’t Cry, an autobiography of Melba Patillo Beals who was one of the little Rock Nine. We have examined the constitutional crisis that took place in 1957 by exploring the 14th Amendment, the 10th Amendment, Article VI (Supremacy Clause), Article II (Take Care Clause) and the Article IV guarantee of a republican (not capitalized) government for each and every state. We have read the court’s opinion in Brown v Board of Education. We have discussed the doctrine of States Rights, even the concepts of nullification and interposition. We have learned lots of legal vocabulary including jurisdiction, injunction, subpoena, plaintiff, executive order.
Yesterday we watched the first part of the second episode of Eyes on the Prize which shows the footage from the integration at Central High. Yes, we have totally immersed ourselves in the story, politics, constitutional tension of integration in 1957 in Little Rock Arkansas.
Today as I was walking down the hall, one of my students caught me and said how much he enjoyed watching the video yesterday and would we be able to watch the rest of it. I said we would probably finish it on Monday. He said, “Great. You know, I didn’t realize it was a real event until today. I thought it was just, you know, a story.”
I had to remind myself, as I lifted my jaw off the floor and tried to reduce the size of my saucer-shaped eyes, and as I uttered the only word available to my brain at the time, “Oh.” Yes, I had to remind myself, ever so gently, that Teachers don’t cry.