This county became a focus of national attention in August 1956, when Clinton High School became the first public high school in the south to desegregate (which means it was the first high school where white students and black students could attend together).
This was a big deal, because prior to that time everyone in the South – white and black – were used to separate schools, separate churches, separate neighborhoods, everything. In 1956, most of the people in Clinton were anxious for this to happen without much trouble, but people descended on the high school from all over. Since there were only two police officers in Clinton – not nearly enough for this sort of thing – Governor Frank Clement of Tennessee had to send in about 100 state troopers to restore order.
By the end of that year Bobby Cain became the first African American person to graduate from a desegregated high school in the South. During the next few years every public high school in the South desegregated.
Anderson County's largest city isn't Clinton, but Oak Ridge. Talk about an unusual place! Oak Ridge was originally a "secret city," built by the federal government during World War II to help develop uranium for the atomic bomb that the United States dropped on Japan.
Click here to take a virtual tour of the American Museum of Science and Energy and learn more about Oak Ridge.
And here's a photo of the Anderson County Courthouse.