Melba Beals Honored for Role in the Civil Rights Movement

Melba Beals, chair of Dominican University of California's Department of Communications and a Congressional Medal recipient, will be honored on August 30 in Little Rock, Arkansas, for her role in the civil rights movement. Beals was one of nine black children who integrated Central High School in Little Rock in 1957.

On August 30, Beals and the other eight members of the Little Rock Nine will attend the unveiling of a life-size statue of all nine on the state Capitol grounds. The sculpture depicts the Little Rock Nine walking together, books in hand, as they did in 1957 entering the historic high school.

Later that day, at Central High School, the U.S. Postal Service will issue a postage stamp to honor the Little Rock Nine. The Post Office's stamp is one of 10 commemorative postage stamps in a series called "To Form a More Perfect Union."

Beals also will attend a luncheon at the Clinton Library and the groundbreaking for a museum next to Central High School celebrating the events of 1957. Authorized by the Department of the Interior, the museum will open in time for a 50th anniversary in 2007.

Beals joined Dominican's faculty in 2000. She earned her bachelor's degree in journalism from San Francisco State University and a master's degree in electronic and print journalism from Columbia University. She was a television journalist at San Francisco's KRON for six years, a news talk radio show host, and wrote for numerous newspapers and magazines, including People. An acclaimed author, Beals has received numerous awards including the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for Excellence in Writing for her autobiography, Warriors Don't Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock's Central High. Her other awards include the American Library Association Award and the American Booksellers Award. In addition, Beals is an inspirational speaker who has lectured at colleges, universities, and conventions across the country.

In 1998, Congress voted Beals, along with the other eight Little Rock students, the nation's highest honor - the Congressional Gold Medal.