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Empowering Women Luncheon
October 3 @ 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
We are pleased to announce Carlotta Walls LaNier as our keynote speaker for the 12th annual Empowering Women Luncheon.
In 1957, at age 14, Carlotta Walls LaNier and eight other black students integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. This act of courage and defiance became the catalyst for change in the American educational system. By ushering in a new order, the Little Rock Nine, as they would eventually be called, became ‘foot soldiers’ for freedom.
But it was injustice of the American system that forced Carlotta and her family to relocate to Colorado. Concerns for family safety and continued employment persuaded the family, in 1962, to consider Denver as a city offering greater access to opportunities. By this time, Carlotta had graduated from Central High School and had completed two years of college at Michigan State University. In 1968, she earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Northern Colorado, and accepted a position as Y-Teen Director at the Denver YWCA as her first professional job.
Since then, she has married, raised two children (Whitney and Brooke) who both graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder, founded her own real estate company and has worked over 40 years as a Real Estate Broker.
In 1997, the Little Rock Nine returned to Central High for a 40th Anniversary Celebration. In a symbolic and emotional gesture, the school’s Principal, Mayor, Governor of Arkansas and President of the United States on this occasion, opened the doors of Central, which had been blocked by the National Guard in 1957.
On November 9, 1999, in a ceremony held at the White House, members of Congress and President William Jefferson Clinton bestowed upon Carlotta Walls LaNier as a member of the Little Rock Nine the nation’s highest civilian award, the Congressional Gold Medal, for their sacrifice and contribution to the cause of equality.
She recently authored her memoir, A Mighty Long Way: My Journey To Justice At Little Rock Central High School, published Aug. 25, 2009, by Ballantine Books, a division of Random House. President Bill Clinton wrote the foreword, and it already has received wide acclaim.