“I think they threw a book at a Negro student in a study hall”: What we might learn from the Clinton 12 (1956)

It’s been just sixty years since twelve students of color in Clinton, Tennessee were integrated into high school with their white peers.  That the Supreme Court ruled in 1954 that such integration should occur did not mean that it happened easily two years later.  In contrast, this documentary of the town’s desegregation efforts is a timely and powerful reminder that providing an equitable education for all children is not simply a matter law, policy, or even the federal government handing “control” back to states.  It comes down to collective hearts and minds, two of the most impressionable and fickle substances on Earth.

As you watch the film, consider this: What is the implied purpose of public education and on what grounds do segregationists make their claims?  These questions are not quickly answered, even today.

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