In 1957, 14-year-old Carlotta Walls became the youngest member of the Little Rock Nine, a group of Black students who made history by walking into the historically segregated all-white Central High School in Little Rock and taking classes in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Brown v Board of Education.
Now actress/writer Eisa Davis is developing a TV series about that event called Little Rock Nine which is based on Walls’ memoir, and she has the unlikely pairing of Chadwick Boseman (Black Panther) and Seth MacFarlane (Family Guy) lined up to executive produce. Read more about the story below.
Deadline reports that Carlotta Walls, now Carlotta Walls LaNier, will consult on this upcoming series, which is based on her memoir A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High.
In 1954, the Supreme Court made segregation in schools illegal – but that didn’t stop racist institutions, especially across the South, from doing it anyway. An angry mob, aided by the Arkansas National Guard, originally prevented Carlotta and her fellow Black schoolmates from entering Central High School on the first day of school in early September of 1957. But a few weeks later, escorted by federal troops deployed by President Eisenhower, Carlotta and her classmates made history.
It wasn’t easy. While federal troops escorted them to the building every day that year, the Little Rock Nine had to endure insults and abuse from their white schoolmates once they were inside the walls of the school. “I considered my tormentors to be ignorant people,” Carlotta told Time in 2017. “They did not understand that I had a right to be at Central. They had no understanding of our history, Constitution or democracy.”
Check out Nine From Little Rock, a short film that writer/director Charles Guggenheim made in 1964, for more information. The short is narrated by Jefferson Thomas, one of the Little Rock Nine, and won an Oscar for Best Documentary Short:
Eisa Davis (She’s Gotta Have It) is writing and executive producing this Little Rock Nine TV series adaptation, and she’ll be joined by executive producer Chadwick Boseman, who has previously produced Message from the King and 21 Bridges but is making the jump to producing TV for the first time with this show. For comedy mainstay Seth MacFarlane, this marks the second serious project that he’s making, following last week’s announcement that he’s developing a limited series drama called The Winds of War.
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