ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How Did Tennessee Handle Desegregation?

Updated on February 19, 2013
Source

Prior to Brown v. Board of Education

Prior to the landmark court ruling of Brown v. Board of Education, people in Tennessee were striving for the desegregation of schools. Tennessee schools, like other states, had been divided across color lines. There were "black schools" and "white schools". Things were happening in the country though that were about to change that.

Where colleges were concerned, there were struggles to desegregate as early as 1950. Four black students applied for admission into the law and graduate schools of the University of Tennessee. The university resisted, but the students took their case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The school finally relented and agreed to allow blacks to enter the institution in 1952. In 1954, Lillian Jenkins became the first black person to graduate from the University of Tennessee. Soon after U.T.'s desegregation, other universities and colleges followed suit.

A black student walks through a sea of white students in Clinton, Tennessee.
A black student walks through a sea of white students in Clinton, Tennessee. | Source

The Clinton Twelve

High Schools in Tennessee were not as easily desegregated. Clinton and Nashville are two examples of this. In 1951, black students sought entrance into Clinton High School. In 1955, Judge Taylor ruled that the school had to allow blacks by the 1956-1957 school year. People in Clinton, while not happy with the ruling, made preparations for this to happen.

While it seemed that desegregation was going to happen without conflict, this was far from the case. John Kasper, a militant activist arrived in town with one mission. He wanted to stop the desegregation of Clinton High School. He went about the community inciting the citizens with racial hatred. Soon, there was fear among city leaders that violence would soon erupt.

The National Guard was called in to help protect the students who had become known as "The Clinton Twelve". This was not enough though, because the harassment of the black students continued. White citizens began escorting the students to school. One such person, Reverend Paul Turner, was brutally beaten by whites and left for dead. People in the community were shocked by this, and many knew it needed to stop. Later in the year, Clinton High School was bombed. The community(both black and white) joined together to stop the violence. Tensions over desegregation soon ended.

First Graders in Nashville
First Graders in Nashville | Source

Nashville

In Nashville, a black teen wanted to attend an all white high school. His father sued the school board, and Judge Miller ruled that the school system had to have a desegregation plan in place by 1957. The board was not willing to give in so easily, and shrewdly agreed to desegregate one grade per year, starting with first grade. They zoned the schools in such a way, that most black parents decided to keep their first graders in the all black schools. Only nineteen black students were slated to enter the white schools. This probably would have happened without incident had John Kasper not entered the fray. Kasper had not succeeded in Clinton, but he was determined to keep schools segregated in Nashville. The police were on to him though, and arrested him time after time, leaving him unable to cause much harm. The previous one grade per year plan was eventually shot down by the court, and all twelve grades were desegregated.

Source

A Model for Other States?

Even though the Supreme Court had ruled in 1954 that all schools be desegregated, many southern states resisted. Tennessee was no exception. Blacks in Tennessee struggled for years to be allowed enrollment in white schools. These struggles were violent at times. The perseverance and unwillingness to settle helped these people win their battle. Even with the struggles, Tennessee endured desegregation with ease compared to other states. While a handful of racists caused harm, the majority of Tennesseans were compliant with the rulings on desegregation. Places like Little Rock, Arkansas should have taken a cue from those in Tennessee who acted with relative abidance instead of mass resistance.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)