Civil Rights Leader Speaks at Convocation

August 16, 2012

Civil Rights Icon to Deliver Convocation Speech at Evergreen, Introduce Common Reading

During Evergreen’s Orientation Week, the convocation speaker will be Carlotta Walls LaNier, author of the memoir A Mighty Long Way:  My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School.  Ms. LaNier was one of the “Little Rock Nine,” who desegregated Central High in 1957.  All incoming Evergreen students will be receiving a copy of her book in preparation for her presentation, as well as for the faculty-led sessions during Orientation Week.  Convocation is Tuesday, September 18th, from 10:00-noon in Evergreen’s College Recreation Center, located at 2700 Evergreen Parkway, Olympia, Washington 98505.

Ms. LaNier will also be speaking Tuesday, September 18th, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Evergreen’s Tacoma Campus, located at 1210 6th Avenue, Tacoma, WA. The event in Tacoma is free and open to the public.

About Carlotta Walls LaNier

In 1957, at age 14, Carlotta Walls LaNier was the youngest Little Rock Nine member to integrate Central High School.  This act of courage and defiance became the catalyst for change in the American educational system.  By ushering in a new order, she and her fellow warriors became ‘foot soldiers’ for freedom.

Despite her youth, Mrs. LaNier understood the impact of education in a promising future. Inspired by Rosa Parks and the desire to get the best education available, she enrolled in Central High School. Anger and violent behavior threatened their safety and motivated President Dwight D. Eisenhower to dispatch the Army’s 101st Airborne Division to protect their constitutional rights. She graduated from Little Rock Central High School in 1960.  Mrs. LaNier attended Michigan State University for two years. In 1968, she graduated from Colorado State College - now the University of Northern Colorado, on whose board of trustees she sits.

Mrs. LaNier is an active supporter of her community, serving on the Board of Trustees for the University of Northern Colorado and Iliff School of Theology.  She also serves as president of the Little Rock Nine Foundation and is a member of the Denver Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, and the Johnson Legacy, Inc. Board of Directors.

In addition to the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal and the Congressional Gold Medal, awarded to her as a member of the Little Rock Nine, Mrs. LaNier is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Northern Colorado and an inductee in the Colorado Woman’s Hall of Fame and the Girl Scouts Women of Distinction.

After working for the YWCA, Mrs. LaNier has pursued a successful career as a real estate broker for more than 30 years and founded her own real estate brokerage firm, LaNier and Company, which she currently operates, with her son Whitney.  In addition to her son, she and husband, Ira, have an adult daughter, Brooke.  The family lives in Englewood, Colorado.

A sought-after lecturer, Mrs. LaNier speaks across the country and is on a promotional tour of her first book, A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice of Little Rock Central High School.  Fans around the world have heavily anticipated the release of this gripping memoir from the youngest of the "Little Rock Nine", which offers an inside look at the most famous school integration in American history, and the courage and faith required to survive it all.