Civil Rights heroine to keynote ALSC President’s Program

Contact: Jenny Najduch

ALSC Marketing Specialist

(312) 280-4026


For Immediate Release

November 11, 2008

CHICAGO—Only 52 years ago, 15-year old Melba Pattillo Beals faced down furious segregationists, the Arkansas National Guard and the Governor of Arkansas to integrate Little Rock Central High School. Now, a best-selling author, university professor and Congressional Gold Medal of Honor recipient, Beals will join the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) this July at the American Library Association’s (ALA) Annual Conference to discuss her fight for civil rights in the United States.

The ALSC Charlemae Rollins President’s Program featuring Beals is part of the ALA Auditorium Speaker Series taking place from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on Monday, July 13, 2009. A Chicago children’s choir will perform songs from the civil rights movement to start the program.

“The Little Rock Nine,” as Beals and the eight other students to integrate Little Rock Central are commonly called, rocked the nation and forever changed the path of civil rights on that day in 1957. Since then, Beals has written two best-selling books about her experiences, “Warriors Don’t Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock Central High School”and its sequel “White is a State of Mind: Freedom is Yours to Choose.”

“Melba Beals represents one of the opening chapters of the Civil Rights Movement. Though there is much work to be done before the final chapter is written, this historic presidential election is surely the climax. What a year to celebrate those American heroes who fought so bravely to obtain ‘freedom and equality’ for all races and cultures in our nation!” said ALSC President Pat Scales. “As a teenager in Little Rock, she dared to make a difference, and her story is a symbol of ‘hope’ for our youth. I’m thrilled that she is delivering the Rollins lecture.”

Beals began her career at the age of 17, writing articles for major newspapers and magazines. She earned her master’s degree in Journalism from Columbia University and worked as a news reporter for San Francisco’s public television station, KQED, and for the NBC affiliate, KRON-TV. Beals has written numerous articles for periodicals including,
People, Essence and the
San Francisco Examiner; she is also the author of a public relations industry best-seller, “Expose Yourself: Using the Power of Public Relations to Promote Your Business and Yourself.”

ALSC, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), is the world’s largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children. With a network of more than 4,200 children’s and youth librarians, literature experts, publishers and educational faculty, ALSC is committed to creating a better future for children through libraries. To learn more about ALSC, visit their Web site at