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Sun, 08.26.1956

The Clinton 12 Students Desegregate Tennessee Schools

*On this date in 1956, the Clinton 12 broke the color barrier in K-12 education in the American South.

Twelve young black students walked into history in Clinton, TN, that day. They were the first students to desegregate a state-supported high school in the South.

The Clinton 12 were Maurice Soles, Anna Theresser Caswell, Alfred Williams, Regina Turner-Smith, William R. Latham, Gail Ann Epps Upton, Ronald Gordon "Poochie" Hayden, JoAnn Crozier Allen Boyce, Robert Thacker, Bobby Cain, Minnie Ann Dickey Jones, and Alvah McSwain.

Clinton High School holds the honor of having the first Black person to graduate from a public high school in the South, Bobby Cain. It was a great victory for the 20th-century American Civil Rights Movement.  The events of that school year and the following years are celebrated at the Green McAdoo Cultural Center, which opened on August 26, 2006, the 50th anniversary of their first walk to Clinton High School.

Their courage is commemorated in a life-size statue on the museum grounds. The students met at Green McAdoo School daily and walked down the hill to Clinton High School, now Clinton Middle School.

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