Carlotta Walls wasn't the kind of girl who waited for others to make decisions for her.
The youngest member of the Little Rock Nine was inspired by Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and she wanted to get the best education she could. So she made up her mind to enroll in Central High School as a sophomore—without talking to her parents.
"They were nervous," Walls remembered, "but they also felt confident that we were doing the right thing." Her father, a World War II veteran, believed Carlotta "had a right to go to that school and his tax dollars helped pay for that school," she said. "He felt that they didn't separate his taxes, so why should we be separated as far as going to school?" (source).
She was determined not to be scared off by the hatred around her. "I saw all of the anger, and the ugly faces […] but I ignored them, and I really did consider them ignorant people," she remembered. "That is what really got me through the whole year" (source).
Walls graduated from Central High in 1960 after her home was bombed that February. "I really did want that diploma to validate all of the crap that I had gone through," she said (source).
The Walls family soon moved to Denver. Carlotta's father, a brick mason, found it difficult to get work in Little Rock after the school crisis. Carlotta attended Colorado State College (now the University of Northern Colorado) and graduated in 1968.
Walls founded her own real estate brokerage firm in Denver in 1977 and remained active in her community. She was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President Bill Clinton and was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.