Fifty-two years ago, 12 young people from East Tennessee walked into history and changed the world. And yet their struggle was little-noted, nor long-remembered until another motivated band formed the Green McAdoo Cultural Center.
In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Brown v. Board of Education, declaring segregation in schools to be a violation of the U.S. Constitution. In Tennessee, U.S. District Court Judge Robert L. Taylor believed that “all deliberate speed” meant just that, and in the fall of 1956, the county’s high school saw its first African-American students.
In large part, the community approached this historic event with equanimity, but things changed rapidly. Opposition grew into violence and, ultimately, imposition of martial law to enforce the federal order.
At the time, this desegregation was the locus of worldwide media attention – CBS’s Edward R. Murrow sent the crew of “See It Now” to chronicle the events of that momentous year.
Today, you can explore the crisis and the stories of the children and the community that made integration work when you visit the Green McAdoo Cultural Center. It occupies the building that housed the “Negro” school on Foley Hill from which the Clinton 12 began their first walk to civil rights history.
FYI, your guide grew up here and will share his own testimonies and recollections of the aftermath of the Clinton Civil Rights Crisis.
Green McAdoo Cultural Center, Clinton, Tennessee