Small world, strange truth

The brave students who changed America's civil rights moment.

The brave students who changed America’s civil rights moment.

It’s a cliché: the world is small. Sometimes it seems so small you could wrap your hand around it and squeeze.

Clichés are rooted in truth, like this week’s discovery.

  • Uncle owns a carpet-cleaning franchise in Colorado.Wisconsin-based niece writes books, including one about the Little Rock Nine, a tween-and-teen book that swept up some nice honors and reviews.
  • Uncle reads book.
  • Uncle recognizes a name among the nine kids, the first African American students to integrate Central High in Little Rock. For years, Uncle has cleaned carpet, unknowingly, for one of the Little Rock Nine. Carlotta Walls LaNier. A regular customer, a lovely woman who never talked to my uncle about her role in America’s civil rights movement.

A big cause. A brave woman. A small world where three people share an unlikely connection.

If you put this coincidence in a novel, you’d have to be a master writer to convince readers to suspend disbelief, to stick with the story instead of tossing the book in the Salvation Army pile.

And today’s wrap-up cliché: truth is stranger than fiction.

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