I received this book for free from TBR & Beyond Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.A Mighty Long Way (Adapted for Young Readers) by Carlotta Walls LaNier, Lisa Frazier Page
Published by Delacorte Press on January 17, 2023
Genres: Juvenile Nonfiction / Biography & Autobiography / Social Activists, Juvenile Nonfiction / Social Topics / Prejudice & Racism
Source: TBR & Beyond Tours
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Bookshop
Follow the story of Carlotta Walls LaNier, who in 1957 at the age of fourteen was one of nine black students who integrated the all-white Little Rock Central High School and became known as the Little Rock Nine.
At fourteen years old, Carlotta Walls was the youngest member of the Little Rock Nine. The journey to integration in a place deeply against it would not be not easy. Yet Carlotta, her family, and the other eight students and their families answered the call to be part of the desegregation order issued by the US Supreme Court in its 1954 Brown v. Board of Education case.
As angry mobs protested, the students were escorted into Little Rock Central High School by escorts from the 101st Airborne Division, which had been called in by then-president Dwight D. Eisenhower to ensure their safety. The effort needed to get through that first year in high school was monumental, but Carlotta held strong. Ultimately, she became the first Black female ever to walk across the Central High stage and receive a diploma.
The Little Rock Nine experienced traumatic and life-changing events not only as a group but also as individuals, each with a distinct personality and a different story. This is Carlotta's courageous story.
Today is my stop on the A Mighty Long Way book tour hosted by TBR and Beyond Tours. Check out my review below.
What I’ve learned in the past few years as I read more memoirs written by Black authors, is that there is a lot of history packed into people’s individual stories. You can find out so much more than what is commonly known and/or accepted when you give people space to write their own stories. It is a sacred space, because often for people who have been oppressed, that storytelling has a lot of pain attached to it. A Mighty Long Way by Carlotta Walls LaNier and Lisa Frazier Page is a powerful memoir of a young girl who steps into the fires of integration and becomes one of the Little Rock Nine.
History That Should Be in the Textbooks
I loved the smooth flow of this book. It was easy to stay in the story spoken from Carlotta’s viewpoint. I finished the book almost in one sitting. I’m excited for young readers to get their hands on this book. It has so much history packed into it. Students will walk away demanding why they were never told the facts that Carlotta shares.
A Mighty Long Way, includes Carlotta’s life before her fateful sophomore year when she integrated Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. It also describes the painful experiences she endured during that long integration — which took several years — and the trauma she managed after graduating. A fact that I learned: Only three of the Little Rock Nine were able to graduate from Central High School. The reason why may surprise you, and it’s not because they dropped out and transferred.
Dealing With Trauma
Before reading A Mighty Long Way, I had only heard of Ernest Green’s story because it was a made-for-TV movie. A scene that has forever stuck with me was when he came out of the gym shower and he cut himself on broken glass other students spread all over the floor. Readers need to prepare themselves for cruelty Carlotta and the other students experienced day after day at school. She mentions at the beginning that unlike the Freedom Riders, which occurred several years later, she and the other students had no training on how to deal with the constant onslaught of cruelty that was only balanced with a brutal invisibility by those who turned their heads away from the injustices.
Carlotta’s was a story that was almost never told. She speaks about how she really didn’t want to talk about it. It is a good conversation to have with students about dealing with trauma. My heart goes out to Elizabeth Eckford. Many know her as the lone girl in the photographs who walked into the mob because she didn’t receive the message to meet at the Bates home that first day. She still has a difficult time reliving that period of her life.
I definitely recommend this book to anyone who would like to learn more about American history from a perspective that is often suppressed. There was so much more that happened during the Central High School integration than commonly gets told. Carlotta speaks about how during the second year of integration the governor shut down all of the high schools for a year, the bombings (including her own home) by segregationists, an alleged murder, false imprisonment, and the aftermath of having survived two years of being one of the first to integrate Central High School.
About Carlotta Walls LaNier:
Carlotta Walls LaNier attended Michigan State University and graduated from Colorado State College–now the University of Northern Colorado, on whose board of trustees she sits. After working for the YWCA, she founded her own real estate brokerage firm, LaNier and Company. A sought-after lecturer, LaNier speaks across the country, and she has received the Congressional Medal of Honor and two honorary doctorate degrees. She is the mother of two children, Whitney and Brooke, and lives in Englewood, Colorado, with her husband, Ira.
Carlotta Walls LaNier is available for select readings and lectures. To inquire about a possible appearance, please contact Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau at email@example.com or visit http://www.prhspeakers.com.
About Lisa Frazier Page:
Lisa Frazier Page, an editor and award-winning reporter at The Washington Post, is the co-author of the New York Times bestseller The Pact: Three Young Men Make a Promise and Fulfill a Dream. A graduate of New Orleans’s Dillard University, Page holds a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. She grew up in Bogalusa, Louisiana, and lives in the Washington, D.C., area with her husband. They have four children.
Tour Schedule: Check out other tour stops!
Looking for More Black History for Young Readers?
Check out Review: Victory. Stand! by Tommie Smith, Derrick Barnes and Dawud Anyabwile
Leave a Reply