Interview with Melba Pattillo Beals
QUESTION 14
INTERVIEWER:

STILL FIFTEEN YEARS OLD, WHAT KIND OF LIFE, SOCIAL LIFE ESPECIALLY, DID YOU HAVE AT THAT TIME?

Melba Pattillo Beals:

My eleventh year of my high school was not good. I had no social life. My life consisted of going to school with the troops at first, enduring that day, coming back to one or two houses and being de-briefed. Dealing with the troops, as well as the media, the press. It was the first time I was fully exposed to the press, journalists, press conferences. Studied, tried to get some semblance of my homework, eating with my family, trying to figure out how to keep the house secure. Dealing with the phone calls that would come in from the people of the Ku Klux Klan or people of the White Citizens Council, the Mother's League, they formed all sorts of anti-black clubs. Dealing with those phone calls harassment, being warned sometimes at night of what was going to happen the next day. It was like war. It was what it must be like to, you know—Vietnamese soldiers explain to me what it meant to be in a camp of war and it was like war.