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Inside Practically Paradise

Primary Sources for the Clinton 12

I attended a meeting for leaders of the Tennessee Association of School Librarians last week and received a DVD courtesy of the Tennessee Educational Association and the Green McAdoo Cultural Center. The Clinton 12 is a documentary film narrated by James Earl Jones telling the “story of the integration of the FIRST public high school in the South as a result of the Brown vs. the Board of Education decision by the US Supreme Court. The title refers to the 12 black teenagers who, on August 27, 1956, were forced to attend the all white high school in Clinton, Tennessee.”

Note this is before the Little Rock Nine and other more widely known incidents. Have you heard of the Clinton 12? I had not. Since I was attending a workshop on primary sources through the Library of Congress that week, I attempted to find out more. Shockingly, I couldn’t locate anything in a quick search. Not everything is digitized and available on the internet. We still need publishers to create DVDs and content on historical aspects of civil rights.

The Green McAdoo Cultural Center website has lesson plans at You can purchase the DVD for only $22 including tax at 

The Rosa Parks NEA Human and Civil Rights Award 2010 was given to the Clinton 12 and the Green McAdoo Cultural Center. You can watch their acceptance speech and a video that played at the NEA RA awards ceremony featuring Carolyn Boswell and Terri Kerley.

All Tennessee school libraries should be receiving their free copy of this DVD. If they don’t receive it, they should contact their TEA representatives and the Green McAdoo Cultural Center. I hope some publisher realizes the potential for their story to be told.