Friday, March 30, 2018

I Will Not Fear : My Story of a Lifetime of Building Faith Under Fire


In 1957, Melba Beals was one of the nine African American students chosen to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas.

But her story of overcoming didn't start -- or end -- there.

While her white schoolmates were planning their senior prom, Melba was facing the business end of a double-barreled shotgun, being threatened with lynching by rope-carrying tormentors, and learning how to outrun white supremacists who were ready to kill her rather than sit beside her in a classroom. Only her faith in God sustained her during her darkest days and helped her become a civil rights warrior, an NBC television news reporter, a magazine writer, a professor, a wife, and a mother.

In I Will Not Fear, Beals takes you on an unforgettable journey through terror, oppression, and persecution, highlighting the kind of faith we all need to survive in a world full of heartbreak and anger. She shows how the deep faith we develop during our most difficult moments is the kind of faith that can chance our families, our communities, and even the world.

Encouraging and inspiring, her story offers hope that faith is the solution to the pervasive hopelessness of our current culture.

My Review:

An inspiring memoir of a courageous woman.

I was familiar with the Little Rock Nine and the integration of Central High School, but reading Melba Pattillo Beals' first hand account has made a powerful impact on me. I really don't have words to describe the horror and anger and sheer disbelief I felt as I read of the ordeal these students went through. And the fact that no one in the country seemed to be inclined to help them. Politicians, officials, law enforcement, even the principal and teachers entrusted with their well being were culpable in the torture of these teens.

This is definitely a tale of overcoming as Melba's entire life was shaped by those few years. I appreciated her honest account of a complicated life, including her walk of faith. Life is messy but God will always see us through -- that's the core takeaway for me. And the author illustrates that over and over again in examples from her own life.

Melba Pattillo Beals went on to become a journalist and reporter, breaking barriers as both an African American and a female in a male dominated profession. There's a wealth of wisdom in what she shares on so many topics, giving readers an opportunity to dig deeper into controversial issues. Each chapter closes with an inspirational quote which would make a great starting point for discussion in a book club group.

"Our relationship with God in faith is a two-way street -- we cannot ask for help from Him without being available to render help when called upon" (p 146)

By sharing her own personal struggles, triumphs and failures, I feel like the author has challenged me to take stock of my life, my thoughts, my actions, my relationship with Christ. I've come away feeling stretched and recommitted and determined to live with greater intention and deeper faith.

Book provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc.


If you would like a chance to win a copy of I Will Not Fear, leave a comment below or email me at kavluvstoreadATyahooDOTca. If you add your email to a comment, remember to use AT and DOT instead of @ and . in order to protect yourself from spammers. If you enter the draw via email, please add the title to the subject line so it's easy for me to spot your entry. Draw will be held and winner announced on Sunday April 1 2018. Offer open to International Readers. Good luck!


  1. Wow this looks great
    Controversial but good
    iamabho AT gmail DOt com

  2. oh how wonderful. I read bits and pieces of her story, I would love to read this book. it is on my TBR in my buy section. thanks for reviewing
    quilting dash lady at Comcast dot net

    1. It makes me wonder if I would have the courage and tenacity to endure the same thing. Makes me understand her respect and desire for education. She went through so much to be able to attend college. Good luck, Lori.

  3. Sounds like a must read! Kav, thank you for sharing.


  4. Would love to read. Have a blessed Resurrection Day.

  5. I don't read non-fiction very often, but this sounds like a good one. Thank you for the chance.

    melodybissonnette AT gmail DOT com

    1. Same here but sometimes a non-fiction book calls to me and this one did. Good luck, Melody.

  6. I remember living through those times. My doctor's office had two separate waiting rooms. The first one was for whites and the other one was for colored. JC Penneys downtown had 2 water fountains, etc. This book would be a wonderful addition to our church library.
    Janet E.

    1. Hard to believe that it wasn't so long ago! May we never go back. Good luck, Janet. This would be an awesome addition to your church library.

  7. Wow sounds like quite a story. teshawATsbcglobalDOTnet

    1. It's an eye-opening read. Good luck, Tammie.

  8. Melba's first hand account of everything she went through and how it shaped her life sounds so inspiring and sad at the same time. I love reading historical accounts of a time that wasn't that long ago, but seems like it to someone who was born after all of the racism and oppression of that time. LLwaltz [at] gmail [dot] com

    1. And it's so important to remember those times in order to ensure they never happen again. Unfortunately, we're not home free on the racism front yet. It's a work in progress and this kind of book reminds us of why it's important to keep fighting. Good luck, Laura.