Clinton High School, Integration in Tennessee
Following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, federal Judge Robert L. Taylor ordered the desegregation of Clinton High School in Anderson County. On August 26, 1956, a group of African American students – the Clinton 12 – attended their first day of class, marking the first integration of a public high school in the South. What began as a peaceful transition quickly evolved into a threatening uproar. Large crowds of integration protestors formed outside the school. Intimidation tactics grew into violent riots, leading Tennessee Gov. Frank G. Clement to call for the assistance of the National Guard, marking another first in the Civil Rights Movement. But Anderson County public schools were not fully integrated until 1965. Today, visitors can learn about the Clinton 12 at the Green McAdoo Cultural Center. The center features photography, transcripts, interactive exhibits and more, all focusing on the fight for desegregation in Tennessee.