A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School by Carlotta Walls LaNier with Lisa Frazier Page

January 25, 2010 at 6:48 pm Leave a comment

“True heroism starts with one brave decision to do the right thing.” The year is Sepember, 1957, two years after the Supreme Court declared segregated schools are inherently unequal; fourteen-year-old Carlotta Walls enters Central High School in Little Rock Arkansas to begin her freshman year. She and eight other African-Americans are the first of their race to integrate the all-white school in the heart of white supremacy. Not only did the “9”, as they came to be called, not get into school that first day but police and eventually the 101st airborne division had to escort the students for several months. This is Carlotta’s account of her time in Central High and what happened to her and the others after graduation. The hatred, name-calling, daily humiliations, and dangers are all part of her high school experience – as well as the bombing of her home and the arrest of her innocent Black neighbors. Now, some sixty years later, Carlotta and the others have received medals, honors, and interviews. This is a bitter-sweet memoir of those horrible days so long ago but they also serve as a milestone in the progress of racial attitudes that brings us up to the election of President Barak Obama. The book is too long and the writing rather dry, but the events that it recreates should be as well-known to today’s students as the name of Rosa Parks. Carlotta and her courageous companions are living testimony to the power of individuals who make the world better.

Lilian Hecker, Pelham

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Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

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