Black Excellence: Melba Pattillo Beals

Beyoncé’s recent cover of The Beatles classic “Blackbird” was especially profound to listeners who know that the song pays homage to the Little Rock Nine — a group of Black students who were at the center of the fight to desegregate public schools in the United States.

Her version, which is featured on her new album Cowboy Carter, was even more meaningful to one member of the Little Rock Nine, Melba Pattillo Beals.