The Green McAdoo Cultural Center tells the story of 12 brave high school students who were the first African-Americans to attend Clinton High School in 1956. When you visit the museum, you can learn more about the students, the Jim Crow era, and what life in the city was like in the 1950s. Here are 3 things to know about the Green McAdoo Cultural Center:
The Green McAdoo Cultural Center follows the story of the 1956 desegregation of Clinton High School through life-size pictures. The story begins with the community’s constructive approach to the historical event, then continues with the arrival of outsiders with anti-integration propaganda, growing violence, the formation of a home guard, and the arrival of the Tennessee National Guard and martial law. The religious and economic leaders all supported the desegregation, despite receiving backlash. The African-American community became a rallying point for Clinton in the struggle for equal rights. However, white supremacists bombed the high school in 1958 to retaliate. This resulted in the Anderson County community, citizens, and students refurbishing an abandoned elementary school in Oak Ridge.
The history in the museum is not just an account of the Green McAdoo School, Clinton High School, the black community, the white community, or the Clinton 12, but instead it’s the complete story of how it all came together.
Outside of the Green McAdoo Cultural Center, you’ll see a statue of the Clinton 12, the 12 students the center celebrates and is dedicated to. Using interactive screens, you can see the Clinton 12 and others in person and hear their recollections and reflections from interviews by the producer of Clinton 12: A Documentary. While you’re there, take time to visit the Epilogue Room, where you can read the biographies of the students and others who played a role in the desegregation of Clinton High School. Also in the Epilogue Room, you can watch the CBS broadcast of See It Now, Clinton and the Law, from January 1957, and a short sequel from CBS Reports that aired nationally in 1962.
In addition to learning the story of the Clinton 12, you’ll have the opportunity to see a 1950s period classroom. In the classroom, Ms. Theresa Blair discusses the Jim Crow era in the South, the rights of her students at Green McAdoo, and the desegregation of Clinton High School. You’ll also learn about the local 1950 lawsuit, McSwain et al vs. Anderson County, and its relationship to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown vs. Board of Education. All of those events are what led to the desegregation of Clinton High School in 1956.
There is no better place to discover the events that took place in the 1950s in Clinton than the Green McAdoo Cultural Center.