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Carlotta Walls LaNier
*Carlotta Walls LaNier was born on this date in 1942. She is a Black realtor and youth administrator and was the youngest of the Little Rock Nine.
Carlotta Walls was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, to Juanita and Cartelyou Walls. Her father was a brick mason and a World War II veteran; her mother was a secretary in the Office of Public Housing. She was the eldest of three girls and first attended segregated Dunbar Junior High School in Little Rock. However, after graduating, she volunteered to attend Central High School as one of the first blacks. Walls learned about the chance from her homeroom teacher at her junior high.
On September 4, 1957, the Little Rock Nine failed to enter the segregated Central High School. 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 integrate the school.
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. 1958 Walls and the rest of the Little Rock Nine received the Spingarn Medal. The episode resulted in all of Little Rock’s high schools being closed during that year. On February 9, 1960, her home was bombed with two sticks of dynamite. The explosion removed bricks, destroyed three windows, and was heard two miles away. Her father was away, but Walls was home alongside her mother and sisters. Nobody was harmed in the bombing, but it was the first bombing directed at one of the students. Despite this, she returned to Central High in 1959 and graduated in 1960.
Following her graduation, Walls attended Michigan State University for two years. She graduated from Colorado State College (now the University of Northern Colorado) and began working at the YWCA as a program administrator for teens. She married Ira (Ike) LaNier in 1968, with whom she had two children, Whitney and Brooke. In 1977 she founded LaNier and Company, a real estate brokerage company. For over 30 years, LaNier has worked as a professional real estate broker. She is with Brokers Guild-Cherry Creek Ltd. and formerly worked with Prudential Colorado Real Estate.
She has been a member of the Colorado Aids Project, Jack and Jill of America, The Urban League, and the NAACP. She was President of the Little Rock Nine Foundation. She wrote A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School with Lisa Frazier Page. She has two grandchildren, a granddaughter, and a grandson, and resides in Englewood, Colorado.