Carlotta Walls LaNier
Youngest of the Little Rock Nine, civil rights advocate, National Women's Hall of Fame inductee
Courtesy of the author
About Carlotta Walls LaNier
In 1957, fourteen-year-old Carlotta Walls was the youngest Little Rock Nine member to integrate Central High School. She and eight other Black students faced angry mobs, racist elected officials, and federal intervention by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was forced to send in the 101st Airborne to escort the Nine safely into the building. Little did she realize that day that this was the beginning of a journey that would challenge prevailing attitudes, break down barriers, and forever change the social landscape of America. Overcoming her initial need to forget her turbulent past, Carlotta Walls LaNier has told her dramatic story for the first time in A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School. An adaptation of the book for young readers is scheduled for publication in early 2023.
As the youngest of the Little Rock Nine and piece of living legacy, Ms. LaNier connects and encourages her audience, whether in-person or virtually, to pay attention to the lessons of history and to stay vigilant in fighting for equality. A sought-after lecturer, Carlotta Walls LaNier has spoken all over the country at colleges and universities, women’s and African American organizations, libraries and civic groups.
After graduating from Little Rock Central High School in 1960, Carlotta Walls attended Michigan State University and graduated from Colorado State College—now the University of Northern Colorado, which has awarded her an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters and on whose board of trustees she sits. In addition to receiving the Congressional Gold Medal and the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal, awarded to her as a member of the Little Rock Nine, Carlotta Walls LaNier is an inductee in the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame, Girl Scouts Women of Distinction and the National Women’s Hall of Fame. She serves as president of the Little Rock Nine Foundation, created to promote equality of opportunity for all, particularly in the field of education.
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A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School
A key protagonist in one of the most gripping watershed moments of the Civil Rights Movement, Carlotta LaNier delivers powerful keynotes that reflect on history while inspiring hope for the future. An icon of perseverance and strength, in her lectures LaNier revisits the journey of the “Little Rock Nine” who led the nation on a turbulent path that challenged prevailing attitudes, broke down barriers, and forever changed the landscape of America. Her fascinating talks reflect on the history and current state of civil rights, race, and diversity.
Praise for Carlotta Walls LaNier
“She gave a great lecture and answered many students questions in a very candid and impactful way. She received two standing ovations!”— Rockhurst University
“She was a great guest. The entire community came away from her talk feeling inspired and well-informed. Carlotta was also very accommodating and answered all questions from the students and faculty both during the Q&A and luncheon. She was a pleasure to have here!”— The Groton School
Carlotta ‘wowed’ our students, faculty, staff and the area community. She was informative and engaging. Her audience included a wide range of ages; Carlotta answered questions with a great sense of humor or seriousness as fit the request. All her responses were thoughtful and positive. Thank you for all you have done to make this a most wonderful One Book One College semester for us.— Massasoit Community College
She did an AMAZING job!!! AWESOME presentation! Wonderful smile! Everyone walked away loving it! I had people email and come up to me and say “this was the BEST speaker we have had”!— A Walk in Their Shoes
Praise for A Mighty Long Way
A Might Long Way will make you ashamed and proud, angry and hopeful, heartsick and happy...a story we all need to know.— former President Bill Clinton
[An] affecting…powerful memoir.— The Washington Post
Marvelous...this story is an inspiration.— Congressman John Lewis, author of March
Books by Carlotta Walls LaNier
Media About Carlotta Walls LaNier
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- Carlotta Walls LaNier travels from Engelwood, CO