Civil Rights Icon Joins Speaker Series
Carlotta Walls LaNier who, along with eight other students, integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., in 1957 at the age of 14, will speak at Fayetteville State University (FSU) Thursday, Jan. 20.
LaNier's appearance is part of the Chancellor's Speaker Series. The presentation begins at 6 p.m. and is free and open to the public.
The oldest of three daughters, LaNier was born Dec. 18, 1942. She made history as the youngest member of the Little Rock Nine, the nine courageous African-American students who integrated Little Rock Central High School. The world watched as these children and their families braved constant intimidation and threats.
Inspired by Rosa Parks and the desire to get the best education available, LaNier enrolled in Central High School. White students called her names and spat on her and armed guards escorted her to classes, but LaNier concentrated on her studies and protected herself throughout the school year. Gov. Orval Faubus stopped the public schools from opening in September 1958, and after a year of closure and controversy, the schools reopened in 1959. LaNier returned to Central High, graduating in 1960.
LaNier attended Michigan State University for two years before moving with her family to Denver. In 1968, she earned a bachelor's degree from Colorado State College (now the University of Northern Colorado) and began working at the YWCA as a program administrator for teens. In 1977, she founded LaNier and Company, a real estate brokerage company. Her experience in real estate extends from constructing and remodeling properties to marketing and selling them. Cherry Creek Realtors hired her in 1987.
LaNier was awarded the prestigious Spingarn Medal by the NAACP in 1958. She has been a member of the Colorado Aids Project, Jack and Jill of America, the Urban League and the NAACP, as well as the president of the Little Rock Nine Foundation, a scholarship organization dedicated to ensuring equal access to education for African-Americans. She has also served as a trustee for the Iliff School of Theology. In 1999, President Bill Clinton bestowed the nation's highest civilian award, the Congressional Gold Medal, to the members of the Little Rock Nine. In 2009, LaNier completed her book, "A Mighty Long Way," with a forward written by Bill Clinton. LaNier and her husband, Ira (Ike) LaNier, have two children, Whitney and Brooke.
FSU is the second-oldest public institution in North Carolina. A member of the University of North Carolina System, FSU has more than 6,300 students and offers degrees in 70 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
For more information, call (910) 672-1474.
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