One of Little Rock Nine to speak at Pfeiffer, Livingstone

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 8, 2013

MISENHEIMER — On Nov. 12 and 13, Pfeiffer University honors the history of the civil rights movement in partnership with Salisbury’s Livingstone College, with special appearances by Carlotta Walls LaNier, a member of the Little Rock Nine, the group of African-American students in Arkansas credited with integrating Central High School in 1957, and presentation of the Sankofa African American Museum on Wheels.
On Tuesday, Nov. 12, noon-4 p.m., members of the community are invited to Stokes Student Center’s Community Room on Pfeiffer’s Misenheimer campus, 48380 U.S. Hwy. 52N, for self-guided tours of the Sankofa African-American Museum on Wheels, a traveling exhibition described as one of the nation’s foremost collections of African-American artifacts and history.
Also on Tuesday, LaNier will appear at Livingstone College, speaking to Livingstone students and faculty. At 3:30 p.m., the public is invited to a reception at Livingstone’s Events and Hospitality Center, where LaNier will sign copies of her book, “A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School.”
On Wednesday, Nov. 13, at 10 a.m., LaNier comes to the Pfeiffer campus where she will address students, staff, faculty and the community (at no charge) and sign books, which will be available for sale, at Henry Pfeiffer Chapel. At 2 p.m., she and Pfeiffer alumna Dr. Margaret Whitt ‘68, professor emerita of English, University of Denver, and author of “Short Stories of the Civil Rights Movement: An Anthology,” will join Dr. Michael Thompson’s civil rights movement class and the community in G.A. Pfeiffer Library for a discussion about Lanier’s experiences and book.
“In addition to teaching the recognizable icons and incidents of the civil rights movement, I make a special effort to introduce students to the perspectives of people who participated directly in major events of the time,” said Thompson, professor of history, who also collaborates with the YMCA of Greater Charlotte to connect high school students with the history of the civil rights movement and the American South. “For students to have the opportunity to speak directly with Carlotta Walls LaNier, history comes alive and can be inspirational.”
For more information about these events, contact Dr. Sylvia Hoffmire, assistant professor of English and director of cultural programs for Pfeiffer;
LaNier, the youngest of the Little Rock Nine, was the first female African-American student to graduate from Central High School. In 1960, she entered Michigan State University and graduated from Colorado State University (now University of Northern Colorado), where she is a board member and recipient of an honorary doctorate of humane letters. In 1999, she and the other members of the Little Rock Nine received the Congressional Gold Medal from President Bill Clinton. Today, she is president of the Little Rock Nine Foundation, a scholarship organization dedicated to ensuring equal access to education for African American students.
The Sankofa African American Museum on Wheels was established in 1995 by Angela Jennings as a means to familiarize young people with the rich history and heritage of African-Americans and their contributions to the U.S. and the world. As curator, Jennings has traveled throughout the United States, U.S. Virgin Islands, West Africa and Europe to amass art, collectibles and memorabilia. As part of the exhibit, Jennings presents stories and dramatizations about selected periods and historical figures. Sankofa is a Ghanaian term that means to use the wisdom of the past to build the future.