1. It was unsafe for the black students to eat in Clinton High School's cafeteria. On the third day of school, some of the boys decided to grab food from the Richy Kreme. Bobby Cain, Maurice Soles and Jo Ann Allen Boyce tell the story.

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  3. On August 28, 1956, twelve African American students walked into the formerly all-white high school in Clinton, Tennessee. Riots rocked the town. The governor sent in the National Guard, but he sent the troops to protect the students and keep the school open. The school was destroyed by dynamite, but it was rebuilt by an international fundraising campaign headed up by the evangelist Billy Graham. It was the focus of worldwide media attention, and it was the blueprint for what happened at Little Rock, Birmingham and elsewhere. Through it all, the school did not close, nor did it resegregate.

    In 2005 I launched an oral history project in Clinton. . I interviewed most of the black students who helped to desegregate their school along with their families. I talked to white students and teachers. I included the segregationist protestors who fought desegregation as well as white town leaders. Read more here on rachelmartin.wordpress.com

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  4. This oral history is one of the conversations I recorded as part of Out of the Silence. To read more about this story, visit: https://rachelmartin.wordpress.com/2015/07/20/out-of-the-silence/

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Out of the Silence

Rachel Martin

On Monday, August 27, 1956, twelve African American students attended classes at the newly desegregated high school in Clinton, Tennessee. They faced only a small band of protestors. That afternoon, however, a group of white men threatened one of the…


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On Monday, August 27, 1956, twelve African American students attended classes at the newly desegregated high school in Clinton, Tennessee. They faced only a small band of protestors. That afternoon, however, a group of white men threatened one of the black female students and her mother. Someone threw a bottle at a black woman walking by the school. That evening, several hundred white spectators rallied on the courthouse lawn.

The following morning, the crowd by the school had doubled. Wednesday morning, close to 750 protestors surrounded the school. African American students watched as people they knew turned on them. “White and black, we got along good until they integrated Clinton High School,” one of the black students told me almost fifty years later. “And I’m going to tell you, honey,” he continued, “when they did this, I had never seen so much hatred in all the days of my life.” ...

To learn more, visit: https://rachelmartin.wordpress.com/2015/07/20/out-of-the-silence/

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