Carlotta Walls (born December 18, 1942) was the youngest of the Little Rock Nine, a group of African-American students who, in 1957, were the first black students ever to attend classes at Little Rock Central High School,Little Rock, Arkansas. She was the first black female to graduate from Central High School. In 1999, Walls and the other people of the Little Rock Nine were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal of by President Bill Clinton.
On September 4, 1957, the Little Rock Nine made an unsuccessful attempt to enter Central High School, which had been segregated. The Arkansas National Guard, under orders from the governor, and an angry mob of about 400 surrounded the school and prevented them from going in.
On September 23, 1957, a mob of about 1000 people surrounded the school again as the students attempted to enter. The following day, President Dwight D. Eisenhower took control of the Arkansas National Guard from the governor and sent soldiers to accompany the students to school for protection. Soldiers were deployed at the school for the entirety of the school year, although sometimes they were unable to prevent incidents of violence against the group inside.
In 1958, Carlotta and the rest of the Little Rock Nine were awarded the Spingarn Medal by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), as was Daisy Bates. Still, the crisis resulted on all of Little Rock’s high schools being closed during that year. Despite this, Carlotta returned to Central High in 1959 and graduated in 1960.