Alum Melba Beals: 'Equality Is Voice, Choice and Inclusion'

Monday, April 29, 2019
Photo of Melba Beals sitting down
Photo by Frank Frost

OUACHITA BAPTIST UNIVERSITY (ARKADELPHIA, ARKANSAS) -- “Equality is voice, choice and inclusion,” Beals told the audience. “I got a voice in what goes on around me or whatever I choose to participate in; I have a choice to drink out of the water fountain, where I’m going to live, what car I’m going to drive, what school I’m going to attend; and I’m going to be included if I want to be included. I cannot be excluded for something like the shape of my body, the color of my hair, my eyes, how I speak or what I eat. Voice, choice and inclusion — that’s something I didn’t have as a little girl in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1941.”

After high school, Beals attended San Francisco State University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree. She later went on to earn her master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University and her doctorate in international multicultural education from the University of San Francisco. Beals has written and published two books about her experiences: Warriors Don’t Cry and I Will Not Fear, a new book about the role of faith in her life.