In 1957, at age 14, Carlotta Walls LaNier was the youngest Little Rock Nine member to integrate Central High School. This act of courage and defiance became the catalyst for change in the American educational system. By ushering in a new order, she and her fellow warriors became ‘foot soldiers’ for freedom.
Despite her youth, Mrs. LaNier understood the impact of education in a promising future. Inspired by Rosa Parks and the desire to get the best education available, she enrolled in Central High School. Anger and violent behavior threatened their safety and motivated President Dwight D. Eisenhower to dispatch the Army’s 101st Airborne Division to protect their constitutional rights. She graduated from Little Rock Central High School in 1960 and attended Michigan State University for two years. In 1968, she graduated from the University of Northern Colorado.
Mrs. LaNier is an active supporter of her community, serving on the Board of Trustees for the University of Northern Colorado and Iliff School of Theology. She also serves as president of the Little Rock Nine Foundation and is a member of the Denver Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, and the Johnson Legacy, Inc. Board of Directors.
In addition to the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal and the Congressional Gold Medal, awarded to her as a member of the Little Rock Nine, Mrs. LaNier is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Northern Colorado and an inductee in the Colorado Woman’s Hall of Fame and the Girl Scouts Women of Distinction.
Mrs. LaNier has pursued a successful career as a real estate broker for more than 30 years and currently operates, with son Whitney, her own company. In addition to her son, she and husband, Ira, have an adult daughter, Brooke.
Currently: Mrs. LaNier is on a promotional tour of her first book, A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School. Fans around the world have heavily anticipated the release of this gripping memoir from the youngest of the "Little Rock Nine", which offers an inside look at the most famous school integration in American history, and the courage and faith required to survive it all.