DEFIANCE, Ohio – Carlotta Walls LaNier, one of the Little Rock Nine and a participant in one of the nation’s most significant civil rights battles, will speak at Defiance College on her memoir A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School. The event will be held in Schomburg Auditorium on Tuesday, March 22, at 7 p.m. It is free and open to the public.
This event is brought to campus by the Ralph and Lorna Peters Lectureship endowment.
In l957, 14-year-old Carlotta Walls was the youngest Little Rock Nine member to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Ark. She and eight other black students faced angry mobs, racist elected officials, and intervention by President Dwight Eisenhower, who was forced to send in the 101st Airborne to escort the Nine into the building. Little did LaNier realize that day that this was the beginning of a journey that would challenge prevailing attitudes, break down barriers, and forever change the landscape of America.
Overcoming her initial need to forget her turbulent past, LaNier has told her dramatic story for the first time in A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School. The Associated Press said, ''LaNier tells her story with eloquence, dignity, and a riveting sense of urgency,'' and Congressman John Lewis calls the book ''a marvelous personal account that describes a moving period in the transformative struggle for civil rights and social justice in America.'' President Bill Clinton, in his foreword to the book, writes, ''A Mighty Long Way will make you ashamed and proud, angry and hopeful, heartsick and happy…[it is] a story we all need to know.''
In addition to receiving the Congressional Gold Medal and the NAACP'S Spingam Medal, awarded to her as a member of the Little Rock Nine, LaNier is an inductee in the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame and the Girl Scouts Women of Distinction. She serves as president of the Little Rock Nine Foundation, created to promote equality of opportunity for all, particularly in the field of education.
Defiance College, chartered in 1850, is an independent, liberal arts institution in Northwest Ohio offering more than 40 undergraduate programs of study as well as graduate programs in education and business. Defiance College has received national recognition for its educational experience of service and engagement. The college website is www.defiance.edu.
March 7, 2011