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Carlotta Walls LaNier (born December 18, 1942) was, at age 14, the youngest of nine black students to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957. She was the first black female to graduate from Central.


Early life and education

The daughter of Juanita Walls and the Cartelyou Walls, she was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1942. Following her graduation from Central High in 1960, Walls attended Michigan State University for 2 years before moving to Denver, Colorado. She graduated 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.

Honors and awards

LaNier and the Little Rock Nine have received numerous awards and recognitions, including the prestigious Spingarn Medal from the NAACP in 1958, and the nation’s highest civilian award, the Congressional Gold Medal, which was bestowed upon them in 1999 by President Bill Clinton. She has been a member of the Urban League, NAACP, and is currently president of the Little Rock Nine Foundation, a scholarship organization dedicated to ensuring equal access to education for African Americans. She also serves as a trustee for the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, and the University of Northern Colorado.

LaNier was named a “Woman of Distinction” by the Girl Scouts in 2000, and was inducted into the Colorado Women's Hall of Fame in 2004. She recently received the National Shining Star Award from NOBEL/Women (National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women).


For over 30 years, LaNier has worked as a professional real estate broker. Currently, she is working with Brokers Guild-Cherry Creek Ltd. and formerly worked with Prudential Colorado Real Estate. LaNier is a member of Metrolist, Inc. She and her husband, Ira (Ike) LaNier have two grown children, Whitney and Brooke.


A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School. With Lisa Frazier Page. OneWorld/Ballantine, 2009.

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