2017 Young Readers Essay Contest

“I was walking for them. We had risked it all and made it through.” Carlotta Walls LaNier

Essay Task

Using examples from Carlotta Walls LaNier’s  A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School, to tell how Carlotta, when faced with racism, discrimination, and prejudice, persevered and overcame these obstacles. Discuss how Carlotta graduated, achieved her goals in life and finally found peace. Also, explain the importance of the message in this story and its relevance to your own life.

This powerful story follows the life of Carlotta Walls LaNier as she and eight other African-American students integrated Little Rock Central High School during the late 1950s. Only fourteen years old, Carlotta faced racism, discrimination, and prejudice as she walked the halls and entered the classrooms of Central High. Outside school, she and her family experienced the hardships and terror associated with attempts to desegregate public schools after the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954). As Carlotta accepted her diploma at graduation, she remembered all of those brave classmates who started the challenge of integration with her. “I was walking for them. We had risked it all and made it through.” Carlotta Walls LaNier

Essay Contest Information & Enrollment Form

Essay Contest Instructions:

Submit your essay to your classroom teacher. Each participating school should select and send two entries per classroom. Send two copies of each entry along with an Enrollment Form attached to each essay in one packet by midnight April 3, 2017 to:

New York State Bar Association

The Law, Youth and Citizenship Program Essay Contest

One Elk Street
Albany, New York 12207

Book Cover of A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School
Credit: One World