WASHINGTON  Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05), along with Rep. Chuck Fleischmann introduced a Resolution in the House honoring the bravery and legacy of the Clinton 12.
“Jo Ann Allen Boyce, Bobby Cain, Anna Therreser Caswell, Minnie Ann Dickey Jones, Gail Ann Epps Upton, Ronald Gordon Hayden, William Latham, Alvah J. McSwain Lambert, Maurice Soles, Robert Thacker, Regina Turner Smith, and Alfred Williams were among the first students to desegregate a high school, Clinton High School, here in Tennessee,” Rep. Jim Cooper said. “It is my privilege to honor their bravery and faith here today.”
“The Clinton 12 embody our nation’s creed that ‘all men are created equal’ and entitled to equal rights and justice under the law. They represent the best of America and Tennessee and changed our state and our nation. I am proud to honor their courage and dedication to equality,” said Rep. Chuck Fleischmann.
The full text of the resolution is attached and below:
Honoring the bravery and legacy of the Clinton 12.
Whereas education in the United States is a fundamental right;
Whereas the Supreme Court of the United States unanimously ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that racial segregation in public education is unconstitutional;
Whereas the school system in Clinton, Tennessee, began to desegregate in 1956 as the result of a court order;
Whereas the students who desegregated Clinton High School were Jo Ann Allen Boyce, Bobby Cain, Anna Therreser Caswell, Minnie Ann Dickey Jones, Gail Ann Epps Upton, Ronald Gordon Hayden, William Latham, Alvah J. McSwain Lambert, Maurice Soles, Robert Thacker, Regina Turner Smith, and Alfred Williams;
Whereas these students known as the ‘‘Clinton 12’’ were among the first students to desegregate a public high school in Tennessee, and among the first students to desegregate any school in the South after Brown v. Board of Education;
Whereas, in August 1956, the Clinton 12 were pursued on their walks to school by white supremacists including the Ku Klux Klan, were threatened with violence, and in some cases were forced to flee the community;
Whereas for years the town of Clinton was the target of white supremacy that resulted in the calling of the National Guard to protect the students and culminated in the bombing of Clinton High School in 1958, which was never solved;
Whereas amid this racism and violence, the Clinton 12 walked to school to pursue the right to an equal education; and
Whereas students across the United States today still face discrimination and inequities in educational opportunities: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives—
(1) honors the members of the Clinton 12;
(2) commends their bravery and perseverance in
the face of hate;
(3) recognizes the courage of their families and
friends who were subjected to racially motivated vio- lence and intimidation in the years following the desegregation of Clinton High School;
remembers the words of the late Representative John Lewis who said in commemorating the
Clinton 12, ‘‘Thank you for standing up. Thank you for getting in the way. Thank you for being you.’’;
and calls for the fulfillment of the promise by the United States Supreme Court that all students be afforded equal protection under the law, and separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.’’