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A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  440 Ratings  ·  84 Reviews
When fourteen-year-old Carlotta Walls walked up the stairs of Little Rock Central High School on September 25, 1957, she and eight other black students only wanted to make it to class. But the journey of the “Little Rock Nine,” as they came to be known, would lead the nation on an even longer and much more turbulent path, one that would challenge prevailing attitudes, brea ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published July 27th 2010 by One World/Ballantine (first published January 1st 2009)
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If I were a high school history teacher, all my students would read this book. Lanier was the youngest of the Little Rock Nine—the nine black kids who went to Central high school after it was forcibly integrated. As a high-achieving, captain of this, queen of that 8th grader, when she heard that Central was opening to black kids, signing up was a no-brainer: it was a much better school, with much nicer equipment and labs, and it was closer to her house than the all-black-by-default high school. ...more
Mikey B.
This is a very riveting story of this young girl’s attendance at an all-white high school in Little Rock, Arkansas. The abuse she experienced during her first year was horrible. The school actually closed after her first year - a belated victory for the white segregationists. She managed to complete her high school diploma after the school was re-opened.

This is the same school that President Eisenhower was forced to send in the 101st Airborne to allow nine African American students to attend. Th
Nandi Crawford
A childhood should be happy; Going to school, hanging with friends, learning and preparing for adulthood; But sadly for so many, it isn't. One of the best memoirs I have read was by one of the former Little Rock Nine Melba Patillo Beals detailing her life specifically as one of the first of nine young people to integrate Little Rock Arkansas' Central High School in 1957; I kind of wish that the others would do the same, but I can accept that some things you truly want to forget because it is so ...more
Anna Ligtenberg
Jan 16, 2013 Anna Ligtenberg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ISBN 034551100X - Books about Civil Rights have taken on new interest for me, especially with the election of Barack Obama, the death of civil rights warrior Senator Ted Kennedy, and the (hopefully) shifting view of race in this country. That was the reason I picked up this particular book. I got what I was looking for and much more.

Carlotta Walls Lanier begins her story years before she became famous as part of the Little Rock Nine. A short family history and her life story, up to age 14, lead
Tara Chevrestt
Sep 29, 2009 Tara Chevrestt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir
It took an incredible amount of courage to be one of those nine children that walked into Little Rock Central High School on that fateful day in 1957. It took even more courage to rehash it all and write a book about it. I barely had the courage to read it all. I grew upset quite often, Carlotta's story brought up memories of my own school years. The name calling, the jeers, being slammed into lockers or kicked, having someone walk behind you stepping on your heels, the teachers that look the ot ...more
I just finished A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School by Carlotta Walls LaNier with Lisa Frazier Page. Carlotta was one of the Little Rock Nine. If that means nothing to you let me recount a little history: "Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483 (1954),[1:] was a landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court that declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students, denying black children equal educationa ...more
Sep 14, 2009 Kari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bios-and-memoirs
After hearing a half-hour segment of NPR's Talk of the Nation (the radio show that gets me through the work week!) featuring Carlotta Walls LaNier of the Little Rock Nine, I was inspired to pick up her memoir at the library—A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School.

As a bit of a history lesson, the Supreme Court declared segregation unconstitutional in the 1954 case of Brown vs. Board of Education. When the city of Little Rock, Arkansas, was forced to integrate
Oct 04, 2012 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book i read for my first quarter Good Reads Project was A Mighty Long Way by Carlotta Walls,I believe the author's purpose for writing this book was to inform the readers of how serious racism was after World War II. The author also describes her life and all of the obstacles she had to overcome, just in order to get an education. Obstacles that Carlotta had to rise above included racist people continuously taunting her, and the constant disrespect that she received from the white people of ...more
Nicole (Reading Books With Coffee)
This was such a wonderful book! And add it to the very short list of books that have made me cry.

This is the 2nd book I've read that was written by someone who attended Little Rock Central High- the other one was Warriors Don't Cry.

Her reason for going to Central High was because she wanted to go to one of the top high schools in the country, and not because of the history it would make. It was clear throughout the whole book that education was important to her and her family. Some of the event
Feb 14, 2011 George rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

To a cocksure, cavalier, albeit grossly naïve, sixteen year old white boy in London, Kentucky/New Haven, Connecticut, 1957—a year of 15¢ McDonalds’ hamburgers and 10¢ french-fries; of newly-born rock-’n-roll, transistor radios and 45 rpm records; of Johnny Cash and Ferlin Husky; of Bill Haley, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley—was quite possibly the best year in the history of forever. To a fourteen year old black girl in Little Rock, Arkansas, however, it was quite pr
Melissa Andrews
I gave this four stars because the story - the experience of being one of the Little Rock Nice - is awesome. The book itself isn't a great literary work, but that's not what it's meant to be. It's meant to try to give you a glimpse of what it was like to be one of those nine young people who integrated Little Rock Central High School - and it does that wonderfully. It is well written and keeps the flow going.

Carlotta Walls will be going to high school shortly after the Supreme Court decided Brow
Dec 11, 2012 Cleo rated it really liked it
Carlotta Walls LaNier was one among the nine black students who entered Little Rock Central High School on September 25, 1957. The nine came to be known as the "Little Rock Nine", and then changed history. Just to get into the high school involved the calling in of federal security (the governor of Arkansas himself tried to prevent the students from entering.) This is Carlotta's memoir of her experiences and then life afterwards. I found A Mighty Long Way quite moving indeed; Carlotta and the ot ...more
Carlotta Walls was a bright, motivated student of color living in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957. At that time, all schools in Little Rock were segregated. However, after the Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, schools in the South were ordered to integrate. Carlotta was offered an opportunity to attend Little Rock’s Central High School—one of the best in the nation. In hopes of receiving a better education Carlotta registered to attend Central.

Little did she realize the impact h
Aug 29, 2009 Weavre rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Weavre by: Amazon Vine
Absolutely wonderful!

Carlotta Walls just wanted to get the best education she could. That the best local school happened to be Little Rock's Central High School, that she happened to be black, and that it happened to be 1957 didn't mean she wanted to make history. But, make history she did, as one of the famed Little Rock Nine.

This is Carlotta's story, told in her own words, including everything from the narratives of the generations before her right up to the present day. For a woman who avoide
Dec 16, 2013 Addison rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Mighty Long Way
Carlotta Walls Lanier
336 pages

Can you imagine being the first of many to walk into a school with your books in your hand, being spit on, and called bad names? You may think that would never happen, but it did to Carlotta Walls Lanier. She was the first to conquer segregation on her journey to justice at Little Rock Central High School in 1957. In this book, you will learn about what it feels like to be a little African-American girl entering the world of integration. Along Carlo
Kate Lawrence
This memoir makes a powerful statement of the high price often paid by those who try to carry the human race forward to greater fairness and inclusiveness. Not many high school students would have been able to withstand the taunts and overt hostility of their classmates to the degree that Carlotta Walls faced when she was among the first African-American students to integrate a previously all-white Southern school in the 1950's. Furthermore, her account reveals that the time of continual insults ...more
Dec 01, 2013 Caitlin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book while visiting the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site in Arkansas. Like many others, I was familiar with the iconic images and stories associated with the school's integration in 1957, but even after spending several hours inside the visitor's center, I wanted to continue reading more about the stories that surrounded the events at the school that year.

I loved Carlotta's story and her honesty regarding the pain she had to face in revisiting her past. Wh
Feb 27, 2011 Lucy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was fascinating. I remember the news of the 9 black students who were the first to integrate Little Rock Central High School but I had never thought about what their experience would have been. Carlotta LaNier first described her growing up, a story which resonated with me despite the facts that my circumstances, as a Northern white girl in private schools, were totally different. I was surprised at the reasons Carlotta wanted to go to the white school. She wasn't trying to start a soc ...more
Barb Terpstra
Aug 05, 2009 Barb Terpstra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was about the Little Rock 9, and the racial upheaval that took place during the desegregation of Central High. I am sad to confess my ignorance of history. I was not aware that the school was closed for a whole school year to both black and white students. This first person account was factual and interesting. The hurt to the heart is expressed in this sentiment: "Some days I was so mentally exhausted that I didn't have the energy to guard my heart. In those low moments, when the troub ...more
Matt Fitz
Mar 01, 2015 Matt Fitz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read books ABOUT the Little Rock Nine as well as taking my own children to tour Central High School and related sites, it was insightful to read a first-person account of one of those children: to walk in her shoes. It's written simplistically enough for young readers (and includes study questions at the end for classroom use). Besides sharing those challenging high school years, she intertwines stories before, during and after that help put a context on her story that i hadn't though of ...more
Mar 03, 2017 Bri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was an amazing book about strength and courage. It is a very relevant book with all that is taking place today in our country with race, politics, and human rights. I highly recommend this book!
Rachael Schuler
Growing up in Little Rock, I of course knew of the Little Rock nine but I didn't really know the whole story -- or at least I didn't really appreciate it. This is a wonderful account of a dark time in my hometown.
Karyn Buchanan
Mar 20, 2017 Karyn Buchanan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a beacon, a call to action, a great companion piece to Warriors Don't Cry. Carlotta was only 14 when she attended Central High as a part of the Little Rock Nine. This book is about being determined, resolute, and moving forward. It will inspire you and change the way you view history.
Oct 31, 2009 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the Little Rock Nine - the first African American students admitted to Central High School in 1957 under a desegregation order from President Eisenhower - breaks her 50 year silence to return to the dark days that marked the beginning of the Civil Rights movement in the United States.

Although this is an important, heartbreaking, inspiring book, the restrained writing doesn't make for an engaging book. Chapter 1 opens with a pedigree and family history to establish the importance of educat
We met Carlotta Walls LaNier when she visited the Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver. You can listen to her talk about A Mighty Long Way
About this podcast:
When fourteen-year-old Carlotta Walls walked up the stairs of Little Rock Central High School on September 25, 1957, she and eight other black students only wanted to make it to class. But the journey of the "Little Rock Nine," as they came to be known, would lead the nation on an even longer and much more turbulent path, one that would challe
Mar 21, 2014 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the second book I have read by one of the Little Rock Nine. I would recommend it although I have a vague remembrance of liking the other one better. This book helped me to consider the deep trauma that it was to those children and their families. For Carlotta and others it was difficult to even speak about for decades and the awfulness of those years was never even mentioned within her family.

As with most books about racism and its impact, the deep need for naming these atrocities and se
Apr 17, 2015 Cindy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So this is the 3rd book I've read in the last few months about the LIttle Rock 9, the black teenagers who were the first to go to Central High in Little Rock. By now the material is no longer a surprise to me, though it is still shocking that people acted with such hatred and vitriol. What was different about this book was that Carlotta was only a sophomore during her first year at Central, so after the year that Governer Faubus shut the schools down she returned to Central as a senior. And if y ...more
Sep 25, 2011 Marcie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
To be honest, I only read two chapters of this book. For whatever reason, it was kind of hard for me to get into. Maybe it's because I was kind of forcing myself to read it, which makes reading less fun. I did, however, go hear the author speak (which was why I'd started reading the book in the first place), and I really appreciated her message.

Mrs. LaNier, the other members of the Little Rock Nine, and their family, neighbors, and friends, went through a lot to help make a difference in the wor
Feb 02, 2010 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As someone who wasn't alive during the civil rights struggles of the 50s and 60s, I really enjoyed reading this book as a way to get a glimpse into the events and emotions of that time. The integration of Central High School was a pivotal event and it was both inspiring and heart-breaking to read the author's story. All the students (and their parents) had tremendous courage and strength to persevere. One thing that stuck out for me was how the experiences of those traumatic years had a huge imp ...more
Sep 27, 2010 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent civil–rights themed memoir, written by one of the Little Rock Nine who lives right here in the Denver area. Carlotta faced unthinkable circumstances as a young girl integrating a southern high school, but she writes that she always saw herself as trying to get the best education possible and not as an activist or pioneer. I was most touched by how, in the midst of angry mobs at the school gates and tortuous classmates in the hallways, she still worried about the simple every ...more
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Carlotta Walls LaNier made history as the youngest member of the Little Rock Nine, the nine African-American students who desegregated Central High School in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in 1957.

The oldest of three daughters, Carlotta Walls was born on December 18, 1942, in Little Rock to Juanita and Cartelyou Walls. Her father was a brick mason and a World War II veteran, and her mother was a sec
More about Carlotta Walls LaNier...

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