stepped into history in September 1957 when at age 14 she became the youngest of nine students to integrate Little
Rock Central High School.
The students became known around the world as the Little Rock Nine
, and with great courage and determination,
they changed the face of American education forever. After Gov. Orval Faubus closed Little Rock’s high schools the next school year
to avoid further integration, Carlotta was forced to sit out her junior year and take correspondence courses. But she was one of the
two members of the original nine who returned to Central in 1959. On May 20, 1960, she became the first African American girl to participate
in a graduation ceremony at Central; others had received their degree via the mail when Faubus closed the schools.
Michigan State University for two years and then moved to Denver with her family. She continued her education there and in 1968 graduated
from Colorado State College, now the University of Northern Colorado, where she sits on the Board of Trustees. The same year, she
married Ira C. “Ike” LaNier. She began her career in the nonprofit sector, working for the YWCA as a program administrator and founded
her own real estate brokerage firm, LaNier and Company, in 1977.
Carlotta is in much demand as a public speaker. She has addressed
audiences as large as 11,000 people in her many speeches at colleges and universities, high schools, community rooms and corporate
board rooms throughout the country. Among the many honors and accolades she has received are the Congressional Medal of Honor
with the other members of the Little Rock Nine
and two honorary doctorate degrees.