A new chapter for the Clinton 12
More than a decade ago, the doors opened to the Green McAdoo Cultural Center in Clinton. Located inside an old school, the museum inside tells the story of 12 young men and women who helped change the course of history. Now, thanks to a new partnership, the story told here will undoubtedly be told for generations to come.
Bobby Cain, Minnie Ann Jones, and Jo Ann Boyce aren’t names you’ll see in many history books along with nine of their classmates who paved the way for integrated schools in East Tennessee and across the country. Seated in front of the school they attended before going on to high school, Cain, Jones and Boyce were on hand, August 25th as the Tennessee State Museum officially welcomed the Green McAdoo Cultural Center into the state museum system. The day also celebrated the inclusion of Green McAdoo in the newly created U.S. Civil Rights Trail.
During the short ceremony on August 25th, Bobby Cain took time to thank his Caucasian friends for all their help in making them feel welcome when they took those steps down Foley Hill and walked into the doors of the all-white Clinton High School. Jo Ann Boyce echoed the same sentiment as she addressed the crowd of about a hundred people who attended the ribbon cutting and celebration.
Jerry Shattuck, one of those Caucasian friends Cain talked about was on hand for the event. He was a football team captain who worked to make sure the Clinton 12 were welcomed at their new school.
The daughter of the Rev. Paul Turner was another person at the ribbon cutting and celebration. Her father courageously escorted the Clinton 12 down the hill to the school even when things got rough.
Rev. Turner was badly beaten on one occasion, but still managed to help bring the community together especially in his actions and sermons. Today, in front of the museum, just below the bronzed statues of the Clinton 12, an excerpt from one of those sermons is etched in stone.
The inclusion into the Tennessee state Museum system helps preserve the story of the Clinton 12 for future generations by aiding in the digitization of exhibits, taking the story on the road to other TN State Museum affiliates and having the expertise of the TN State Museum staff bolster the efforts to preserve this part of history.
At the event, I had a chance to talk to Jo Ann Boyce for a few minutes. I had met her a few years earlier at a historical marker dedication at the old Clinton High School (now Clinton Middle School.) She was telling one of the TN State Museum officials about her grandson, who was an actor in California. He seemed intrigued, especially when she mentioned that Cameron Boyce was on the Disney Channel series Jesse and in the Descendants movies, shows his children love. At that point he asked if I would take his phone and snap a picture of the two of them so he could show his children whose grandmother he had met.
A few years ago, Cameron, his grandmother and other family members came to Clinton where Disney Channel put together a short video on the Clinton 12 story and Jo Ann’s role in it. I asked her what they thought of the trip here. She told me, they loved coming to East Tennessee and have been telling the Clinton 12 story a lot back in California where they all live, even having Jo Ann speak to nearly all the students at Cameron’s school. Needless to say, the Clinton 12 story will be passed on to other generations in the Boyce family, too.
Click here to learn more about what to expect at the Green McAdoo Cultural Center.
Browse through the gallery below for more photos from the August 25th event.
Scenes from the ribbon cutting and celebration for the Green McAdoo Center's inclusion into the TN State Museum System. August 25, 2018