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Carlotta Walls LaNier    

Youngest of the "Little Rock Nine," Civil Rights Advocate

Carlotta Walls LaNier is the youngest of the Little Rock Nine, a group of African-American students who, in 1957, were the first black students ever to attend classes at Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. She was the first black female to graduate from Central High School. In 1999, LaNier and the other people of the Little Rock Nine were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President Bill Clinton.

On September 4, 1957, the Little Rock Nine made an unsuccessful attempt to enter Central High School, which had been segregated. The Arkansas National Guard, under orders from the governor, and an angry mob of about 400 surrounded the school and prevented them from going in. On September 23, 1957, a mob of about 1000 people surrounded the school again as the students attempted to enter. The following day, President Dwight D. Eisenhower took control of the Arkansas National Guard from the governor and sent soldiers to accompany the students to school for protection. Soldiers were deployed at the school for the entirety of the school year, although they were unable to prevent incidents of violence against the group inside.

In 1958, Carlotta and the rest of the Little Rock Nine were awarded the Spingarn Medal by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), as was Daisy Bates. Still, the crisis resulted on all of Little Rock’s high schools being closed during that year. Despite this, Carlotta returned to Central High in 1959 and graduated in 1960.

For over 30 years, LaNier has worked as a professional real estate broker. Currently, she is working with Brokers Guild-Cherry Creek Ltd. and formerly worked with Prudential Colorado Real Estate. LaNier is a member of Metrolist, Inc.

Speech Topics


A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School

The Burden of Being First

Civil Rights, Then and Now

Race and Diversity Today

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