Little Rock Don’t Break’t you worry, don’t you cry
Oh mother dear, they say I’ll be just fine
Daddy looks nervous, why would they mind?
I only want to go to Central High

Angry people line the street
My knees are shaking, just stay on your feet
Don’t be frightened, wounds can be healed
These troops, this God, this Country is my shield

Please! The National Guard won’t let me inside
You are my guardians, don’t cast me to die!
Am I surrounded? Faith, will you lie?
I turn around, the crowd moves in and cries:


I won’t change my point of
You’ve got your world, I’ve got
Mind your own
Little Rock don’t break

Raising my eyes and searching for a safety net
Between the mob and the guards’ bayonets
The face of an old woman may look so kind
But when I look again she spits on mine
“Lynch her! Lynch her! What a fool!”
“No nigger bitch going to get in our school!”
“Drag her over to this tree!”
“You bastard of a black bitch, come with me!”


I’ve a huge throne of ancient stone
This is my home
And you may not drink from my fountain
You are all alone, you worthless little stone
I could crush you into dust
You’re nothing but dirt on my mountain

Little Elizabeth is fifteen years of age
And she has made a brand new dress
And she will wear it as she’s
Heading off this day for her new school
Little Elizabeth is such a threat that
Bayonets can’t keep her from her pride
Little Elizabeth is such a fool that
She will keep her stride through the cries
Keep your eyes on the prize
`Til you die

Don’t you worry, don’t you cry
You’ve the strength to push fear into millions of eyes
Pack your bags and off to school
Oh, and don’t forget the Golden Rule

So dance! Dance!
Won’t you dance in your world?
Won’t you run with your kind?
You’ve got your world and I’ve got mine

So don’t you worry, don’t you cry
That time is gone now, it’s all passed us by
No don’t you hurry, don’t try to find
A place where we are sleeping side by side
There is a land just miles from my home
Another world where poor dark people roam
That land is their land, I’ll stand my ground
Don’t drive your car through their town
Drive around


© Cory Patrick Cullinan


Voice, synthesizers, & samples Cory Cullinan
Voice Emily Bezar
Spoken voice Jay Kadis
Choir Die Oystersingers
Guitar Kwame Yao Anku
Violin I Nathan Rubin & Emily Van Valkenburgh
Violin II John Tenney & Patrice May
Viola Wieslaw Pogorzelski & Rebecca Sebring
Cello Terry Adams & Miriam Perkoff
Double bass Tim Spears


Little Rock Don’t Break was inspired by Elizabeth Eckford of Little Rock, Arkansas, and the mob who met her on her first day of high school in 1957. She was one of the Little Rock Nine, the first nine black students who were admitted to the previously all white Central High School in Little Rock. It is based on accounts in the documentary video Eyes on the Prize: Fighting Back (1957-1962) by Blackside, Inc., and the book The Long Shadow of Little Rock by Daisy Bates. I received permission from the UCLA Film & Television Archive to use actual televised audio footage from the incident in the song, and received letters from both President Bill Clinton and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee commending the song’s historical storytelling.

I programmed most of the percussion parts from samples I created by striking things in my home like the washing and drying machines, and this site has a soundscaping video describing sound design techniques I used to tell this song’s compelling story.

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