Black students walk to Clinton High School in 1956
Library of Congress photo
County Seat: Clinton
This county became a focus of national attention on August 26, 1956, when ClintonHigh School became the first 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.
And here's a photo of the Anderson County Courthouse.