Clinton After Segregation: A Small Southern Town’s Struggle With The Past

Apr 4, 2013

In 1957, Bobby Cain was the first black graduate of a court-ordered desegregated public school in the South. “When people start talking about things that have happened in civil rights, they talk about Little Rock and other areas and for some unknown reason they have not spoken about Clinton,” he says. There were 700 white students registered at Clinton High School when Cain started his then-senior year. Cain was one of twelve black students. “We were greeted with a throng of people there saying certain things; things we probably didn’t wish to hear,” he remembers.

The Clinton 12 walk to school. Bobby Cain is pictured on the far left. Photo: Howard Sochurek/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images.