- Clinton, TN
On August 27, 1956, twelve black teenagers entered Clinton High School for the first time.
What followed shocked the world…and changed a nation.
50 years after Clinton, Tennessee became the first Southern town to desegregate a school, the former 1935 Clinton Colored School
reopened as a civil rights museum.
The Green McAdoo Cultural Center focuses on the period from 1956-1958 when 12 black students first attended the all-white Clinton High School. The National Register-listed brick building had been considered for demolition before the city was urged by relatives of the original Clinton 12 to turn it into a museum. With $750,000 from the federal government, the city broke ground in February 2006. The renovation was completed exactly 6 months later to mark the 50th anniversary of the integration.
During the renovation, workers reopened the original brick arches, stripped multiple layers of carpet, plywood and vinyl from the floors to expose the original wood, and removed non-original partitions, lighting and ceilings from the structure, whose design was based on Rosenwald schools.
The two original classrooms were faithfully restored to their 50’s era style and serve as the background for a civil rights exhibit
highlighting the school’s pioneering role in the desegregation movement. This $2.5 million project extends beyond the building to include new parking and site-work, life-size bronze statues of the Clinton 12 inspired by a 1956 photo of their daily walk down Foley Hill, and a full-length documentary narrated by James Earl Jones.
exterior photos from before:
interior photos from before: