The Green McAdoo Cultural Center and Museum tells the compelling story of twelve high school students, who in 1956, braved threats of violence to attend Clinton High School, making it the first desegregated public high school in the South. Tennessee holds the honor of having the first black graduate from an integrated public high school in the South after the Brown vs Board of Education landmark decision. The Green McAdoo Cultural Center and Museum follows the chronologically detailed story of the 1956 desegregation of Clinton High School in life-size pictures with dramatic narrative.
The story begins with the community's initial constructive approach to the historic event...then the arrival of outsiders with anti-integration propaganda...a week of growing violence...the formation of a home guard...the arrival of the Tennessee National Guard and martial law. Unlike the stories in Arkansas and Alabama, both the city and state governments supported the "Law of the Land", represented by the desegregation ruling. The city's white religious and economic leaders, such as the Rev. Paul Turner, a local Baptist minister, allied with the black students and their families, offering them protection in integration and challenging those they led to the same in the face of rising violence. At one point, Rev. Turner was physically attacked for his heroic stand. The African-American community on Foley Hill became a rallying point for Clinton in the struggle for equal rights for all citizens. In retaliation, white supremacists bombed the high school in 1958, destroying the building, but not halting the progress of equality. Instead, the Anderson County community, citizens and students from Clinton and Oak Ridge refurbished an abandoned elementary school in Oak Ridge--and Clinton High School was back in session in one week, still integrated.
This documented history is not an independent account of the Green McAdoo School, Clinton High School, the black community, the white community, or the Clinton 12, but the complete story of how all came together and became the success story that is deserving of preservation and national recognition.
The Green McAdoo center was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in October 2005.