Clinch River Pearls by Danny Thomas
This book reflects actual events that made headlines across the nation when a tiny hamlet became a crucible of racial tension during the civil rights era of the 1950s. Because the Supreme Court dictated schools could no longer be segregated by race, the citizens of Clinton, Tennessee, were catapulted into confrontation and violence.
The story focuses on blacks and white alike; on students, teachers, parents, grandparents, and some others who took no side in the great debate, but were determined to continue as before, whether that involved compliance with law and local norms or defying them.
The demonstrations and riots that rocked Clinton severely tested black families on Foley Hill, especially students who became known as the Clinton 12, those first blacks required to integrate the school. The order tested whites throughout the county, families with and without children, leaders in the community attempting to cope with this new mandate , teachers, farmers, and even the white students. This story is a multifaceted view of those tumultuous days in that quaint, bucolic place and how people coped with a new world, which is a story that still needs to be told even now, over fifty years later.
Danny Thomas grew up in East Tennessee. After graduating from Clinton High School and playing football for legendary Bear Bryant at the University of Alabama, he worked as a teacher/administrator for twenty years in Durham, North Carolina. The family, his wife, Cynthia, two daughters, and a son, accompanied him to new jobs in Salisbury and Sanford. Upon retirement in 2006, he began consulting work which allows him time for writing. Now the family divides their time between home in Winston-Salem and summers at an island retreat in Northern Ontario. He is currently at work on his fourth book.