Nurse Brittonya Sparks and Cynthia Finch working the shot table. Photo by Vivian Shipe

By Vivian Shipe

KNOXVILLE, TN — It seemed fitting somehow.

The city that was finally celebrating and remembering the school integration by the Clinton 12 and the Oak Ridge 85 chose to offer vaccine clinics in the historic African American community of Scarboro.

The event was part of festivities honoring the first Black students to attend Clinton High School which was blown up in 1958 after integration and also honored the 85 Black students who first integrated Oak Ridge High School; also known as the secret city because of the creation of the nuclear materials needed to build the atomic bomb in Oakridge.

Set up as the first booth in the entrance way to the celebration site Saturday afternoon, the Faith Leaders Initiative, who have said they will bring the shot to whoever wanted one in order that no one be left behind, kept their word.

Offering Pfizer, and Moderna and also doing third shot boosters for the immune compromised, the clinic lasted well into the afternoon.

As the virus and the variants continue to surge  and as Tennessee continues to lead the nation in new cases, the Initiative presses on as they have since May of 2020: educating and vaccinating with clinics set up all around the city and more to come.