Lessons from Little Rock, by Terrence Roberts
This memoir is hard to put down. It's by one of the group of nine black students who first entered Little Rock's Central High school to end segregation in Arkansas. The book is not very long; Roberts talks about his early life and family, how he decided to be one of the Nine and what it was like that year. (This was in 1957-58, and all of the area high schools were actually closed for the next year in an attempt to stop desegregation. Roberts finished high school in Los Angeles.)
As a Gen-X California girl, I don't know a lot about the South and legal segregation--it probably doesn't help that US history is my worst subject. So while I knew the general outlines, the details were mostly news to me. I particularly enjoyed Roberts' descriptions of his family life and community; he had some excellent teachers and mentors who helped him on his way.
This title has led me to Warriors Don't Cry, by Melba Pattillo Beals, another member of the Little Rock Nine. I'm looking forward to reading her book as well.