Carlotta Walls LaNier, The Little Rock Nine

Little Rock Nine arrive at Central High School in 1957.

Carlotta Walls and other members of the Little Rock Nine arrive at Central High School in 1957.

Carlotta Walls LaNier said she was inspired by Rosa Parks, often referred to as the mother of the civil rights movement, when she decided to enroll in Central High School as a sophomore. She was the youngest member of the Little Rock Nine. She returned to Central High once the schools were reopened after “The Lost Year” and graduated in 1960.

Her family decided to leave Little Rock when her father could no longer find work after the 1957 integration crisis. Walls attended Michigan State University in the early 1960s before moving with her family to Denver.

LaNier earned a bachelor of science degree from Colorado State College (now the University of Northern Colorado) and began working at the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) as a program administrator for teenagers. She is the founder LaNier and Company, a real estate brokerage firm in Denver, and she is the president of the Little Rock Nine Foundation, a scholarship organization dedicated to ensuring equal access to education for African Americans.

Looking Back on Her Experience
“I had to have that sheet of paper,” she said, referring to her diploma. “It was an achievement. I helped change the educational system.”

(Photo courtesy Central High Museum Historical Collections/UALR Archives)

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