Former Clinton High School student remembers desegregation

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) - Jerry Shattuck, former Clinton High School class president and football tem captain, expressed his initial thoughts on the school's historical integration:

"Well, I didn't ask for integration and I wasn't enthusiastic about getting it, but the Supreme Court said our high school should be integrated and so I thought I should do all I could to bring this court order about peacefully". 

 "If my Uncle DJ said it once, he said it a half dozen times to me, 'You know during those tough days in 1956, if it hadn't been for Jerry Shattuck and his leadership role with the student body, I don't know that Clinton would have ever survived . . . .," said former Clinton City Manager Steve Jones 

 "The town had pretty much reached a consensus that we're good law biding people -- we're going to abide by the law of the land," explained Shattuck. "And that consensus was 90 percent or better and was also reflected in the student body".

The integration decision was originally met with controversy but resulted in few issues.

"When the school started and the Negro students were inside.. no one was hostile toward them. Everyone seemed to be friendly," continued Shattuck. "All the trouble seemed to be outside the school among the adults and I'd say about 6 or 7 of the students Casper had persuaded to picket."

It has been 62 years since integration at Clinton High School began and has remained a place of respect for all races. 

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