"Two, four, six, eight, we ain't gonna integrate!" pg.48
Melba Pattillo is an African-American student in Little Rock, Arkansas, 1954. The story takes place in Central High School and at Melba's home. Some other main characters are her grandma India, her mom Louis, her brother Conrad, and the other eight students she went to school with. The story was told in first person.
Melba was one of the nine kids who volunteered to go to Central High School. The nine kids had to wait two long years for the integration to begin because most of society didn't agree with integration. Society also did not want integration to happen. The type of conflict is character vs. society.
"We ain't gonna let no ****** wear our cap and gown!" pg.299
Once they were able to start to integrate an angry mob formed outside and near/around the school to keep the nine students out of the school. After a week of not being able to get in or go to school they enlisted the help from the 101st guards and were finally able to enter the school.
Even with the 101st guards the abuse they endured was terrible. White students would throw acid at them, squirt ink on them, threaten to kill them, and tried to get the nine expelled. When they tried to tell the white teachers no one would believe them or help them. Eventually, Minnijean was expelled for accidentally dumping chili on several students.
"One ****** down and eight to go!" pg.220
As the year progressed the abuse was terrible and Melba would pray to god that she could be a warrior and have strength to make it through. She would talk to her grandma, India, about this and she gave her the advice to "change the rules of the game." So when Melba did that it became easier to make it through the last bit of the school year.
"Thank you." pg.299
Eight out of the nine students to integrate Central High School finished the year. One of the nine even graduated, Ernest Green was the only one from the little rock nine to graduate from Central High. The eight finished out the year which was a big step forward to how life is today and it was very important for them to do this because no one thought they could and no one wanted them to, and because it would help their people.