In 1957, Carlotta LaNier was one of the 9 brave students to attend the previously all-white Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas, under U.S. military guard and enduring endless taunting from their white peers. Just three years after the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the desegregation of the nation's schools via Brown vs. Board of Education, these students were the first African-Americans to graduate from a overwhelmingly white-majority school during a time when racial tensions were running high across the country.
LaNier had not written about the events that unfolded during her high school years until Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School, her memoir due out in paperback July 27, 2010. Her recollection of attending Central High gives the reader a personal insight into the immense challenges presented by LaNier's pursuit of a better education.
LaNier moved with her family to Colorado in 1962, where she graduated from what would become the University of Northern Colorado (UNC). She has spent the last 30 years working as a successful real estate broker, a career that included the founding of her own company in 1977. For their courageous action during a period of turmoil within the American school system, LaNier and the rest of the Little Rock Nine were presented with the country's highest possible civilian honor, the Congressional Gold Medal, in 1999.
Currently, LaNier serves as president of the Little Rock Nine Foundation, as well as on the board of trustees for the Iliff School of Theology and the University of Northern Colorado. She has two grown children and currently lives with her husband in Englewood, Colorado.
Carlotta LaNier will speak and sign Mighty Long Way (One World, $16.00) on Monday, August 2, 2010 at 7:30 pm at Boulder Book Store, 1107 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO.
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