Preview: One Book Project features Carlotta Walls LaNier

Cover of LaNier’s memoir. Photo provided by One Book Project

On Oct. 27, author Carlotta Walls LaNier will be visiting Cal State Bakersfield to discuss her memoir, “A Mighty Long Way.” The event will take place at the Icardo Center at 7 pm

The book tells the true story of 14-year-old LaNier when she and eight other youths were the first to racially integrate into the once all white school of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957. They have since been dubbed “The Little Rock Nine.”

LaNier’s memoir is this year’s One Book Project selection, an annual project that encourages the community to read the same book and hold programs relating to the themes discussed in the book.

The themes include racism, segregation, civil rights, and discrimination. To localize the topics from the book, CSUB and Kern County Library will be having discussions about how racism has historically impacted Kern County, and how its dark shadow still veils our community and school systems.

Donato Cruz, archives specialist at Walter W. Stiern Library, shares “This is the first time this type of research will be spoken about in public, especially the history of racial policing,” regarding the upcoming panel happening the night before LaNier’s book discussion.

Flyer for the discussion on Oct. 26. Flyer provided by Walter W. Stiern Library

The panel is titled “The Sound of Something Better: A Legacy of Racial Injustice in Bakersfield,” and will be held on Wed., Oct. 26, at the Dezember Reading Room in the Walter W. Stiern Library.

Cruz said the panel will discuss local historical references to education discrimination and how housing impacts education discrimination. The speakers make up the demographic in the schools in Bakersfield, and they will discuss the once segregated all Black school—Lincoln.

The panel will also highlight the work of local activist Jesse Alcala, who worked to desegregate the schools. They will show narrated clips, history of the events, and other primary sources.

The panel will also include Elieen Diaz, who is a graduate research assistant in archives at CSUB. Her thesis will focus on racial policing and racist attacks from the district attorney’s office.

Upcoming events:

“The Sound of Something Better: A Legacy of Racial Injustice in Bakersfield,” on Wed. October 26 in the Dezember Reading Room of the Walter W. Stiern Library at 4 pm-5 pm

“An Evening with Carlotta Walls LaNier” book discussion with Q&A happening Oct. 27 at the Icardo Center at 7 pm

“Generational and Modern-Day Racial Traumas” on Thur. Nov. 3 at Beale Library from 11:30 am-1 pm

“Journey to CSUB: Experiences in the Civil Rights Era” on Mon. Nov. 7 in the Dezember Reading Room of the Walter Stiern Library at 5 pm-6:30 pm

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