Bobby Cain: an Unlikely Hero Essay

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The stats are straight forward. Bobby Cain, age 16, a transferring senior from Austin High School, enrolled at Clinton High School for fall semester, beginning August 27th. Bobby, a native of Clinton, Tennessee, lived in the vicinity of Foley Hill, a short walk to Clinton High School. What the stats don't reveal is the story behind his transferring. Bobby was happy at Austin. He played several sports, had a lot of friends, and would graduate soon with others who shared his ethnicity. He had struggled his whole life with the Jim Crow laws and had, for better or worse, came to accept the separate but equal policy in place in the segregated South he called home. His parents, however, felt strongly that the laws were morally wrong. They wanted equality without separation for Bobby and his siblings. The issue of school segregation was bigger than just him, Bobby learned. His parents, along with other families in Clinton, filed a lawsuit which petitioned the court to end segregation. With the landmark ruling of Brown vs. the Board of Education, Judge Robert Taylor in Knoxville had no choice but to rule in favor of the Clinton parents. With deliberate speed, schools in Anderson County were told to prepare for desegregation, effective for the 1956 school year. Bobby met with 11 other students that fateful day to walk down Foley Hill to Clinton High School. The happiness he had felt with the start of most other school years was missing. In its place was nervousness that bordered on fear. Bobby began the walk without any fanfare. He was greeted by Principal D.J. Brittain and escorted to a special assembly. The principal assured Bobby and friends that he and the school would do what was necessary to make the transition an easy one. Bobby felt better and the day progressed fairly smoothly. Unfortunately, Bobby could not say the same about the

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