Evergreen Magazine

Living History

New Greeners Meet Civil Rights Icon Carlotta Walls LaNier of the “Little Rock Nine”

On September 18, civil rights icon Carlotta Walls LaNier, the youngest of the “Little Rock Nine” who desegregated Little Rock, Arkansas’ Central High in 1957, opened the Evergreen academic year with two rousing campus presentations in Olympia and Tacoma. LaNier is president of the Little Rock Nine Foundation, and author of the memoir A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School, which was common reading for all incoming students, their faculty and college staff this fall. During Orientation Week, students met in seminars with faculty to discuss the book, their own experiences with education, and their college plans, hopes and dreams, preparing them to articulate their educational goals and succeed in reaching them.

“I hope that you take the opportunity to build this community at Evergreen. I want you to stand up for what you believe in,” LaNier said at the college’s opening convocation in Olympia. “Be open—you’re at a place where you can express your ideas and be able to communicate with others. You will find that you can learn so much as you grow through these years at Evergreen.”