U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., today announced he will introduce legislation to begin the process of making the site of the Green McAdoo school part of the National Park System.
“America has been, and will continue to be a work in progress,” Alexander said. “It’s critical we teach the next generation about people and events – like the Civil Rights movement – that propelled our nation over tough hurdles. The Clinton 12 bravely stood up and became the first public high school students to enter a desegregated school in the South, and we need to honor the important place they hold in our nation’s history and preserve their story for years to come.”
The museum in Clinton highlights the history of the formerly segregated all-black Green McAdoo School and all-white Clinton High Schools. Both played a vital role in the school desegregation crisis that preceded and followed the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954.
On Aug. 27, 1956, 12 students from the Green McAdoo School, later dubbed the “Clinton 12,” met at the school before walking together to the all-white Clinton High School to become the first African-American students to integrate a southern, state-operated school.
Alexander’s legislation, The Green McAdoo National Historic Site Study Act of 2007, would direct the Secretary of the Interior to study the feasibility of designating Green McAdoo School as a unit of the National Park System. Upon receiving the designation, the site would become part of the 391-unit National Park System and would receive federal funding for operational costs. It would also receive national recognition as part of the Park System’s mission to preserve and protect the natural and cultural history of America. Similar legislation authored by Congressman Zach Wamp (R-TN-03) and John Lewis (D-GA) is pending in the U.S. House of Representatives
During the 50th Anniversary of the school in 2006, Senator Alexander and former Senator Bill Frist (R-TN) secured $750,000 for the City of Clinton to jump-start renovations to transform the school into a cultural museum as part of the Fiscal Year 2006 Transportation, Treasury, Judiciary, and Housing & Urban Development Appropriations Bill.