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A most tolerant little town : the explosive beginning of school desegregation / Rachel Louise Martin.

"An intimate portrait of a small Southern town living through tumultuous times, this propulsive piece of forgotten civil rights history--about the first school to attempt court-ordered desegregation in the wake of Brown v. Board--will forever change how you think of the end of racial segregation in America. In graduate school, Rachel Martin volunteered with a Southern oral history project. One day, she was sent to a small town in Tennessee, in the foothills of the Appalachians, where locals wanted to build a museum to commemorate the events of August 1956, when Clinton High School became the first school in the former Confederacy to undergo court-mandated desegregation. After recording a dozen interviews, Rachel asked the museum's curator why everyone she'd been told to gather stories from was white. Weren't there any Black residents of Clinton who remembered this history? A few hours later, she got a call from the head of the oral history project: the town of Clinton didn't want her help anymore. For years, Rachel Martin wondered what it was the white residents of Clinton didn't want remembered. So she went back, eventually interviewing sixty residents--including the surviving Black students who'd desegregated Clinton High--to piece together what happened back in 1956: the death threats and beatings, picket lines and cross burnings, neighbors turned on neighbors and preachers for the first time at a loss for words. The national guard had rushed to town, followed by national journalists like Edward Murrow and even evangelist Billy Graham. And still tensions continued to rise... until white supremacists bombed the school. In A Most Tolerant Little Town, Rachel Martin weaves together a dozen disparate perspectives in an intimate and yet kaleidoscopic portrait of a small town living through a tumultuous turning point for America. The result is a propulsive piece of forgotten civil rights history that reads like a ticking time bomb... and illuminates the devastating costs of being on the frontlines of social change. You may have never before heard of Clinton--but you won't be forgetting the town anytime soon"-- Provided by publisher.

Record details

  • ISBN: 9781665905145
  • ISBN: 166590514X
  • Physical Description: 362 pages ; 24 cm
  • Edition: First Simon & Schuster hardcover edition.
  • Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster, 2023.

Content descriptions

Bibliography, etc. Note:
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Formatted Contents Note:
A note on language -- Coming to the clinch, September 2005 -- Descending Freedman's Hill -- Wynona's fight -- Behind school doors -- A carpetbagging troublemaker -- The hardening -- Judging justice -- Victory and defeat -- The best defense -- Invasion -- How to dodge a lynch mob -- Learning the rules -- Vining out -- Small-town games -- Ramping up -- Who, then? -- Tick. Tick. Tick -- Alfred Williams -- A war of nerves -- A desegregated school -- Boom -- Silence, spreading -- From the top of Freedman's Hill, July 2009.
Subject: Clinton High School (Clinton, Tenn.)
School integration > Tennessee > Clinton > History > 20th century.
School integration > Massive resistance movement > Tennessee > Clinton > History > 20th century.
Racism in education > Tennessee > Clinton > History.
African American students > Tennessee > Clinton > History > 20th century.
African Americans > Education > Tennessee > Clinton > History > 20th century.
African Americans > Segregation > Tennessee > Clinton > History > 20th century.
Clinton (Tenn.) > Race relations.
Clinton (Tenn.) > Politics and government > 20th century.
Genre: Informational works.

Available copies

  • 0 of 2 copies available at Lehigh Valley Library System. (Show)
  • 0 of 1 copy available at Bethlehem Area Public Library System.


  • 1 current hold with 2 total copies.
Show Only Available Copies
Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Bethlehem Main Library 379.263 (Text) 33062009767956 New Adult Nonfiction Checked Out 09/28/2023

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