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The "Little Rock Nine": Where Are They Now?*

Read about them here

Desegregation and Little Rock thesis

John F. Kennedy and His Role in the Civil Rights Movement

Historians of the Central High Crisis and Little Rock’s Working- Class Whites: A Review Essay MICHAEL PIERCE



LITTLE ROCK NINE PRESENTATIONS POWERPOINT

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

They didn't start out being known as the Little Rock Nine but now they are in America's history books together. Here is a brief glimpse at these former students and what they are doing today, 40 years after this momentous year.

These nine students are unanimous in proclaiming the true heroes of the crisis at Central High School were their parents, who supported them and kept the faith that the process was right and that what they endured would give them opportunities they deserved.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Ernest Green

In 1958, he became the first black student to graduate from Central High School. He graduated from Michigan State University and served as Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Affairs under President Jimmy Carter. He currently is a managing partner and vice president of Lehman Brothers in Washington, D.C.

Elizabeth Eckford

The only one of the nine still living in Little Rock, Elizabeth made a career of the U.S. Army that included work as a journalist. In 1974, she returned to the home in which she grew up and is now a part-time social worker and mother of two sons.

Jefferson Thomas

He graduated from Central in 1960, following a year in which Little Rock's public high schools were ordered closed by the legislature to prevent desegregation. Today, he is an accountant with the U.S. Department of Defense and lives in Anaheim, Calif.

Dr. Terrence Roberts

Following the historic year at Central, his family moved to Los Angeles where he completed high school. He earned a doctorate degree and teaches at the University of California at Los Angeles and Antioch College. He also is a clinical psychologist.

Carlotta Walls Lanier

One of only three of the nine who eventually graduated from Central, she and Jefferson Thomas returned for their senior year in 1959. She graduated from Michigan State University and presently lives in Englewood, Colorado, where she is in real estate.

Minnijean Brown Trickey

She was expelled from Central High in February, 1958, after several incidents, including her dumping a bowl of chili on one of her antagonists in the school cafeteria. She moved with her husband to Canada during the Vietnam War protests of the 1960s and today is a writer and social worker in Ontario. Winterstar Productions is presently filming a documentary on her life.

Gloria Ray Karlmark

She graduated from Illinois Technical College and received a post-graduate degree in Stockholm, Sweden. She was a prolific computer science writer and at one time successfully published magazines in 39 countries. Now retired, she divides her time between homes in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and Stockholm, where her husband's family lives.

Thelma Mothershed-Wair

She graduated from college, then made a career of teaching. She lives in Belleville, Illinois, where she is a volunteer in a program for abused women.

Melba Pattillo Beals --- visit her website here

A Congressional Medal winner and member of the Little Rock Nine, Melba is a motivational keynote speaker and diversity trainer. She is an author and former journalist for People magazine and NBC and lives in San Francisco.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Information taken from the official website of the Little Rock High School Fortieth Anniversary Commemoration.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Girl on the outside, The

Author: Walter, Mildred Pitts

Eva Collins, selected as one of the first Black students to integrate Chatman High School, is reluctantly befriended by Sophia Stuart, a white girl, when Eva is trapped by a mob of angry whites.


New York: Scholastic, 1992, copyright 1982, 147 p.
Reviews for this Title:
Kirkus Reviews Based on an incident that occurred during the 1954 desegregation of a Little Rock high school, this follows two girls through the last few days of summer vacation and the opening of school. Sophia, a white senior, is fearful and resentful of the coming invasion of her high school by nine black students. Ending her summer job at the dime store, she keeps a black girl waiting while she waits on whites who come in later. Atypically, Sophia has a journalist older brother and an incipient beau, a college boy, both of whom favor integration--but Sophia does not soften. As the days go by, she becomes more confused and jumpy, as well as touchy toward the black stable hand and the family's black maid, whose presence she has always taken for granted. Eva, one of the nine students designated to switch from Carver to the white school, is a sophomore with average marks but a firm understanding of what she's doing. She is also the girl Sophia kept waiting at the store. Eva prepares for school calmly, sewing a dress for the first day; but she becomes uneasy and uncertain as the Governor's speech, the judge's decision, the arrival of the Guard (and of ugly out-of-town whites), and the advice of NAACP lawyers keep changing the plans of her group. The only one of the nine without a phone, Eva misses the last change of plans and shows up at school. . . to be barred by the soldiers she thought were there to protect her, and then surrounded by the angry crowd. At that point Sophia comes to her defense and, though both girls are spit upon, helps her escape by bus. In reality, as Walter's afterword notes, it was a nonsouthern white teacher from a Little Rock black college who befriended the trapped girl. The change makes a better idea for a YA novel, and Walter shows some understanding of both girls' feelings and situations. She never goes beyond predictable portrayals of either, though, and she doesn't handle the tension of the situation nearly as compellingly as have non-fiction chroniclers of desegregation struggles. So, if subject-interest suggests a fictional version, this will serve--but it's not a strong novel.
(Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 1982)



Features about this author or title:

1. Author Biographies for Young Adults - Mildred Pitts Walter


Author Web Sites:
1. About Mildred Pitts Walter : Features a biography of the author.


ISBNs Associated with this Title:
0590460919 : Paperback - Mass Market
0606058451 : DEMCO Turtleback - Juvenile
0688014380 : Reinforced binding - Juvenile


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 Congress honors school desegregation pioneers
Little Rock Nine to get medals at White House ceremony

November 9, 1999
Web posted at: 1:30 p.m. EST (1830 GMT)
In this story:

'I did not expect the violence'

Remembering Daisy Bates

RELATED STORIES, SITES icon

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- More than 40 years after being taunted and threatened, the black students who integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, are being honored Tuesday with the Congressional Gold Medal -- the nation's highest civilian honor.
     VIDEO
VideoGo back in time to Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957. CNN's Jonathan Aiken reports.
Real     28K     80K
Windows Media     28K     80K
 
      ALSO

    The Little Rock Nine
    Other Congressional Gold Medal Winners

 

Members of the Little Rock Nine, as the group was called, are now middle-aged and have followed different paths since those turbulent days. But their collective act of bravery as teen-agers in 1957 has brought them together again -- this time at a White House ceremony.
'I did not expect the violence'

Melba Pattillo Beals hasn't forgotten the jeers and threats she and the eight others faced from whites as they integrated Central High after being kept out for three weeks. But a city's racism has now been traded for a nation's accolades.

"The most beautiful part of this medal is that a diverse Congress voted for it," said Beals, a 58-year-old writer now living in Sausalito, California "Not one black man, or one white man, or one woman, but everyone (in Congress) voted for it."
Beals
Beals says the the medal means a lot to her because it has been bestowed by a Congress diverse in race and gender      

Beals remembered what it was like to integrate her state capital city's high school three years after the Supreme Court's ruling, in Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, ended deliberate racial division of the nation's schools.

But on that first day -- September 4, 1957 -- Beals and her companions did not make it into the building -- the group was blocked by units of the Arkansas National Guard, called out by the state's segregationist governor, Orval Faubus; and an angry white mob threatened violence.

"It was a very painful moment for me," Beals told CNN. "And what made it more painful was the thought that these are people willing to kill me to stop their children from sitting beside me."

The second day, the black students made it inside Central High, but had to be pulled after two hours. "I did not expect anywhere near the confusion, the trouble, the violence," recalls Jefferson Thomas, one of the nine.
Thomas
Thomas says the violence surprised him      

For three weeks, they were kept away until President Dwight Eisenhower sent in Army troops to escort the students to class.
Remembering Daisy Bates

The students were teen-agers and just wanted to belong, Beals said, and their adult adviser Daisy Bates did everything she could to make them feel as if they did.

"She was a fireball," Beals said of Bates, who died Thursday at age 84.

The long-planned White House ceremony unexpectedly conflicted with Tuesday's funeral for Bates, who had brought the youngsters to her home before their walk to school for encouragement that helped them face the taunts and jeers.

Beals said Ernest Green, another of the Nine, returned to Little Rock on Monday to pay the group's respects before returning to Washington for the medal ceremony.

"She would not want to stop us at anything," Beals said in a telephone interview. "She would have said, 'Go for it.'"

The civilian congressional medals are approved by votes in the House and the Senate.

They have been bestowed to more than 100 people, including Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, Billy Graham, Colin Powell, Mother Teresa and Winston Churchill.

It's prestigious company for nine teen-agers who defined a moment in a movement. "I am humbled and overwhelmed to be in this group of people," said Beals.

Reporter Jonathan Aiken and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

     US
Little Rock Nine awarded Congressional Gold Medals
School desegregation pioneers honored at White House ceremony
Eckford images
Hecklers taunt Elizabeth Eckford as she walks to Central High School in 1957; Clinton and Congress honor Eckford Tuesday by awarding her the Congressional Gold Medal for helping to break the color barrier in the nation's schools      

November 10, 1999
Web posted at: 8:25 a.m. EST (1325 GMT)

In this story:

Opportunity to change their destiny

'I did not expect the violence'

Remembering Daisy Bates

RELATED STORIES, SITES icon

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- More than four decades after facing what one civil rights leader called "a volcano of hatred," the black students who -- guarded by U.S. Army troops -- integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, were honored Tuesday with the Congressional Gold Medal -- the nation's highest civilian honor.

Members of the Little Rock Nine, as the group was called, are now middle-aged and have followed different paths since those turbulent days. But their collective act of bravery as teen-agers in 1957 has brought them together again -- this time at a White House ceremony.

"Today, we celebrate the faith of our founders, the faith of parents in their children, the faith of children in their future. We celebrate it because we can. And we can because these nine people helped us to keep it alive," said President Clinton.

The president also noted that on the 10th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, recognition was being given to "what these people did to make the walls of bigotry and prejudice fall in America."
     VIDEO
VideoGo back in time to Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957. CNN's Jonathan Aiken reports.
QuickTime     Play
Real     28K     80K
Windows Media     28K     80K
 
      ALSO

    The Little Rock Nine
    Other Congressional Gold Medal Winners

 

Clinton noted that the medals came from Congress and he thanked the lawmakers for allowing the ceremony to be held at the White House because of his relationship with the recipients from his home state.

Sen. Tim Hutchinson (R-Arkansas) praised the nine honorees for demonstrating "grace in the face of hatred, poise in the face of tumult and courage in the face of violence."

Opportunity to change their destiny

"We were really ordinary people and we really owe a debt of gratitude to (their adviser) Daisy Bates and to our parents," said Ernest Green, who spoke for all of the Little Rock Nine at the ceremony.

Green said it was a special day for the group. And, he said, although it had been a long journey for them to reach the medal ceremony, he thought each of them would consider their great sacrifices worthwhile.
The Little Rock Nine
The Little Rock Nine      

"We realized in 1957 that this was not an easy journey. It was one in which we thought we were simply exercising our right to the best education that was available in Little Rock, Arkansas," noted Green.

He said he hoped their story would inspire some young person in the future to believe that they have the "opportunity to change their life and their destiny."

'I did not expect the violence'

Melba Pattillo Beals hasn't forgotten the jeers and threats she and the eight others faced from whites as they integrated Central High after being kept out for three weeks. But a city's racism has now been traded for a nation's accolades.

"The most beautiful part of this medal is that a diverse Congress voted for it," said Beals, a 58-year-old writer now living in Sausalito, California. "Not one black man, or one white man, or one woman, but everyone (in Congress) voted for it."

Beals remembered what it was like to integrate her state capital city's high school three years after the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling, in Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, ended deliberate racial division of the nation's schools.

But on that first day -- September 4, 1957 -- Beals and her companions did not make it into the building -- the group was blocked by units of the Arkansas National Guard, called out by the state's segregationist governor, Orval Faubus; and an angry white mob threatened violence.

"It was a very painful moment for me," Beals told CNN. "And what made it more painful was the thought that these are people willing to kill me to stop their children from sitting beside me."

The second day, the black students made it inside Central High, but had to be taken out after two hours. "I did not expect anywhere near the confusion, the trouble, the violence," recalled Jefferson Thomas, one of the nine.

For three weeks, they were kept away until President Dwight Eisenhower sent in Army troops to escort the students to class.

Eisenhower's son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter attended Tuesday's medal ceremony after witnessing Clinton sign legislation naming the Old Executive Office Building the Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

Remembering Daisy Bates

Bates
Bates, seen here in 1957, died Thursday. During Tuesday's ceremony a moment of silence was observed in her honor      

The students were teen-agers at the time of the controversy and just wanted to belong, Beals said, and their adult adviser, Daisy Bates, did everything she could to make them feel as if they did.

"She was a fireball," Beals said of Bates, who died Thursday at age 84.

The long-planned White House ceremony unexpectedly conflicted with Tuesday's funeral for Bates, who had brought the youngsters to her home before their walk to school for encouragement that helped them face the taunts and jeers.

It was Bates who said the nine had been forced to face a "volcano of hatred" at Central High in 1957.

Green asked for a moment of silence during his speech Tuesday to remember and honor Bates.

Beals said Green had traveled to Little Rock one day earlier to pay the group's respects before returning to Washington for the medal ceremony.

"She would not want to stop us at anything," Beals said in a telephone interview. "She would have said, 'Go for it.'"

The civilian congressional medals are approved by votes in the House and the Senate.

They have been bestowed to more than 100 people, including Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, Billy Graham, Colin Powell, Mother Teresa and Sir Winston Churchill.

It's prestigious company for the Little Rock Nine -- who as teen-agers defined a moment in a movement. "I am humbled and overwhelmed to be in this group of people," said Beals.

Reporter Jonathan Aiken and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

_________________________________________________________________________________________
Little Rock School District
History/Biographical Sketches
The Little Rock Nine
The Little Rock Nine and their mentor Daisy Bates collectively received the
prestigious Spingarn Award from the NAACP in 1958. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,
received the award the previous year. The Spingarn Award, which consists of a gold
medal, is awarded annually by the NAACP for outstanding achievement by a black
American.
In November 1999 President William J. Clinton honored the Little Rock Nine with
the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a
civilian.
Also in 1999 these nine brave individuals banded together once more to form the
Little Rock Nine Foundation, an organization dedicated to furthering the cause of
quality public education for all students.
The United States Postal Service honored the Little Rock Nine in August 2005 with
a commemorative stamp; it was one of ten stamps in the “To Form a More Perfect
Union” series commemorating a variety of civil rights milestones. The stamp
features George Hunt’s painting America Cares (1997).
A bronze memorial that pays homage to the Little Rock Nine was unveiled on the
grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol the same day the commemorative stamp was
released. Named “Testament,” it consists of life-size bronze figures of the nine
students and quotes from each on bronze plaques. It is the first civil rights memorial
to be placed on the grounds of a state capitol in the United States. The memorial was
designed by Little Rock artists Kathy and John Deering.
The United States Mint honored the Little Rock Nine with a commemorative silver
dollar in July 2007. The obverse (front) of the coin features a view of the feet of the
students, escorted by a United States soldier, walking toward school below a row of
nine symbolic stars. The reverse of the coin features a rendition of Little Rock
Central High School as it appeared in 1957.
* * * * *
Minnijean Brown Trickey was suspended and later expelled from Central High
School for her involvement in altercations with other students. She went to live with Dr.
Kenneth & Mamie Clark in New York City, and she graduated from New Lincoln High
School in 1959. She attended Southern Illinois University and earned a master’s degree in
social work from Carleton University in Canada.
Minnijean has committed her life to peacemaking, environmental issues, developing
youth leadership, diversity education and training, cross-cultural communications and
gender and social justice advocacy.
As part of her ongoing commitment to education, Minnijean has been a facilitator/teacher
for the Sojourn to the Past Project. More than 3,000 high school students have joined this
10-day interactive history course that travels to civil rights sites, meeting with key leaders
and participants in the southern United States.
Minnijean served in the Clinton Administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary for
Workforce Diversity at the Department of the Interior.
Journey to Little Rock: The Untold Story of Minnijean Brown is a documentary that has
received critical acclaim in several national and international film festivals. She also has
been featured in People, Newsweek, the Ottawa Citizen, the BBC, the Canadian
Broadcasting Corp. and other media outlets. She is the recipient of numerous awards for
her community work for social justice, including the Lifetime Achievement Tribute by
the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and the International Wolf Project Award for
contributions to racial harmony.
Minnijean continues her roles as a teacher, writer and lecturer. She holds the Shipley
Visiting Writer Fellowship at Arkansas State University, which includes support for
researching and writing her memoirs. Her daughter Spirit Trickey is a Park Ranger at the
Central High School National Historic Site.
* * * * *
The image of 15-year-old Elizabeth Eckford, walking alone through a screaming
mob in front of Central High School, catapulted the Central High School crisis into the
nation’s living rooms and brought international attention to Little Rock. On September 4,
1957, Elizabeth arrived at Central alone. The nine students were supposed to go together,
but their meeting place was changed the previous night. The Eckford family had no
phone, and group mentor Daisy Bates intended to go to their home early the next morning
but never made it. As a result, Elizabeth got off the bus alone a block from the school and
tried to enter the campus twice, only to be turned away both times by Arkansas National
Guard troops, there under orders from Governor Faubus. Elizabeth then confronted an
angry mob of people (men, women, and teenagers) chanting “Two, four, six, eight, we
ain’t gonna integrate.” Elizabeth silently made her way through the crowd and sat on a
bus bench at the end of the block. She was eventually able to board a city bus, and went
to her mother’s workplace.
Because all of the city’s high schools were closed the following year, Elizabeth did not
graduate from Central High School. Rather, she joined the U.S. Army and earned her
G.E.D. She returned to Little Rock in the 1960s to be closer to her family. She later
attended Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. Elizabeth is an Army veteran and
has held a variety of jobs throughout her life, including a waitress, history teacher,
welfare worker, unemployment interviewer and military reporter.
In 1997 Elizabeth Eckford shared the Father Joseph Biltz Award, presented by the
National Conference for Community and Justice, with Hazel Bryan Massery, a
segregationist classmate who appears in the famous Will Counts photograph. During the
reconciliation rally of the same year, the two former adversaries made speeches together.
They were recognized for contributing to the organization’s mission of promoting
understanding and respect through advocacy and education.
* * * * *
Ernest Green was a senior when he enrolled in Central High School for the 1957-58
school year. He was the first of the nine to graduate and was the first African-American
student to graduate from Central High School. Sitting with Green family at the event was
the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who attended the graduation ceremonies as a guest
of the Green family.
Ernest earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Michigan State University.
He served as the director for the A. Phillip Randolph Education Fund from 1968 to 1977.
He then was appointed Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training under
President Jimmy Carter; he also served as Chairman of the Historically Black Colleges
and Universities Capital Financing Advisory Board and Chairman of the African
Development Foundation under President Clinton. Ernest is Managing Director of Public
Finance at Lehman Brothers in Washington, D.C., and has been with the company since
1987. He has served on numerous boards including the NAACP and the Winthrop
Rockefeller Foundation.
In 1992 Disney produced a television movie, The Ernest Green Story, which still is
popular with students of all ages and is used in classrooms around the world to teach
about desegregation and the Little Rock Nine.
* * * * *
Despite daily torment from white students at Central, Thelma Mothershed Wair
completed her junior year at the formerly all-white high school during the tumultuous
1957-58 year. Despite the fact that she had a cardiac condition since birth, she had a nearperfect
record for attendance. Because all the high schools in Little Rock were closed in
1958-59, Wair earned the necessary credits for graduation through correspondence
courses and by attending summer school in St. Louis, Missouri. She received her diploma
from Central High School by mail.
Thelma graduated from Southern Illinois University and taught home economics in East
St. Louis, Illinois. She earned a master’s degree in guidance & counseling from Southern
Illinois University in 1970. She taught in the East St. Louis School System for 28 years
before retiring in 1994. Wair also has worked at the St. Clair County Jail, Juvenile
Detention Center in St. Clair County, Illinois, and was an instructor of survival skills for
women at the American Red Cross Second Chance Shelter for the Homeless. During the
1989-1990 school year, Thelma was honored as an Outstanding Role Model by the East
St. Louis chapter of the Top Ladies of Distinction and the Early Childhood-Pre-
Kindergarten staff of District 189.
* * * * *
Melba Pattillo Beals faced daily harassment from white students at Central High
School. The soldier that was assigned to protect her told her, “In order to get through this
year, you will have to become a soldier. Never let your enemy know what you are
feeling.” Melba, whose mother was the first African American to attend the University of
Arkansas, took his advice and finished the school year. She moved to Santa Rosa,
California, for her senior year of high school when Central and the other three Little Rock
high schools were closed. Melba received a bachelor’s degree from San Francisco State
University. She earned a graduate degree in communications from Columbia University,
worked as a reporter for NBC and currently works as a communications consultant.
Melba is the only one of the Little Rock Nine to have written a book based on her
experiences at Central High School; it is titled Warriors Don’t Cry: A Searing Memoir of
the Battle to Desegregate Little Rock’s Central High School. The book was named an
ALA Notable Book for 1995 and won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award that same
year. She also wrote White is a State of Mind in 1999, which follows Melba from her
senior year in high school to her college and family days in California. She currently is
chair of African-American History at Dominican University.
* * * * *
Gloria Ray Karlmark was just 14 years old when she finished Dunbar Junior High
School and registered to attend Central for her sophmore year. Ray, like the others, was
tormented by certain white students who called her names and even pushed her down a
flight of stairs. Still, like the others, she was determined to finish the year. Her mother, a
woman with two university degrees and who worked as a sociologist for the State of
Arkansas, was fired by Governor Faubus when she refused to withdraw Gloria from
Central High. The following year when all the public high schools in Little Rock
remained closed, Gloria moved to Missouri where her mother had been able to find
employment. She attended the newly integrated Kansas City Central High School. Gloria
attended Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago, graduating in 1965 with a
bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and Mathematics. She worked briefly as a public school
teacher and laboratory research assistant at the University of Chicago Research Medical
Center.
In 1966 Gloria joined the IIT Research Institute as Assistant Mathematician on the APT
IV (robotics) project. Her career has been varied, including working at the IBM Nordic
Laboratory in Sweden, working as a patent attorney for IBM International Patent
Operations; serving as Editor-in-Chief of Computers in Industry, an international journal
of practice and experience of computer applications in industry; and Philips International.
She retired in 1994.
* * * * *
Dr. Terrence Roberts was a sophomore at Horace Mann High School when he
volunteered to integrate Central High School. When the high schools were closed during
the 1958-59 school year, he moved to Los Angeles and graduated from Los Angeles High
School in 1959. He earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from California State
University and went on to graduate school at UCLA where he received a master’s degree
in social welfare in 1970. He received a Ph.D. in psychology from Southern Illinois
University in 1976.
Dr. Roberts became director of the mental health unit of St. Helena Hospital in Deer
Park, CA. He later became assistant dean of the UCLA School of Social Welfare. As
demands on his time increased, he became program co-chair to concentrate on the
activities of his management consulting firm. He currently is chair of the master’s in
psychology program at Antioch College in Los Angeles and runs a private psychology
practice in Pasadena. He travels widely as a sought-after speaker and consultant and is
CEO of the management consulting firm Terrence J. Roberts & Associates, and he serves
as a desegregation consultant for the Little Rock School District. He serves on the boards
of the Economic Resources Center in Southern California, Pacific Oaks College in
Pasadena, the Eisenhower World Affairs Institute and the Little Rock Nine Foundation.
ABC’s Good Morning, America brought Dr. Roberts and former Arkansas governor
Orval Faubus face to face on May 17, 1979. He told Mr. Faubus, “I really feel it was a
violation of public trust to practice your own personal policies of racism in that position.
You endangered not only my life, but the lives of hundreds of other people, both black
and white.”
* * * * *
Jefferson Thomas was a track athlete at Horace Mann High School before enrolling
at Central as a sophomore, where his quiet demeanor made him an easy target for the
bullies at school. He graduated from Central High School in 1960. He attended Wayne
State University in Detroit and Los Angeles State College, where he received his
bachelor’s degree. He worked as an accountant for the U.S. Department of Defense in
Columbus; he retired in 2004. A Vietnam veteran, Jefferson resides in Columbus, Ohio.
He received an honorary “Doctor of Humane Letters” from Ohio Dominican University
in 2001.
Jefferson is a frequent speaker at high schools, colleges and universities. He served as a
mentor in the Village to Child Program co-sponsored by Ohio Dominican University. He
continues to serve as a mentor and also serves on the Board of Directors for the City of
Refuge Learning Academy at the First Church of God.
* * * * *
Carlotta Walls LaNier was the youngest of the Little Rock Nine. Inspired by Rosa
Parks, she had a desire to get the best education available by enrolling in Central High
School. White students called her names and spat on her while armed guards escorted her
to classes, but Carlotta concentrated on her studies and protected herself throughout the
school year. She graduated from Central High School in 1960. She attended Michigan
State University and Colorado State College (now the University of Northern Colorado)
and worked with teenagers at the YWCA. In 1977 she began LaNier and Company, a real
estate brokerage firm.
Carlotta is the president of the Little Rock Nine Foundation, an organization committed
to ensuring that future generations have access to quality education, and she is a member
of the Urban League and the NAACP. Carlotta has served as a trustee for the Iliff School
of Theology and the University of Northern Colorado.
Carlotta was named a “Woman of Distinction” by the Girl Scouts in 2000, and she was
inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame in 2004. She recently received the
National Shining Star Award from NOBEL/Women (National Organization of Black
Elected Legislative Women).
* * * * *
Sources:
LRSD archives.
Little Rock Nine Foundation, online at http://www.littlerock9.com/. Accessed 12 July
2007.
Central High 50th, online at http://www.lrsd.org/centralhigh50th/default.cfm. Accessed
10 July 2007.
The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture, online at
http://www.encyclopediaofarkansas.net. Accessed 10 July 2007.