This Promise of Change: One Girl’s Story in the Fight for School Equality tells the story of 1956, one year before federal troops escorted the Little Rock Nine into Central High School, when fourteen-year-old Jo Ann Allen was one of twelve Black students who integrated Clinton High School in Tennessee.
The book describes how things went smoothly for the Clinton Twelve at first, but then outside agitators interfered, pitting the townspeople against one another. Uneasiness turned into anger, and even the Clinton Twelve themselves wondered if the easier thing to do would be to go back to their old school. Jo Ann — clear-eyed, practical, tolerant, and popular among both black and white students — found herself called on as the spokesperson of the group. But what about just being a regular teen?
This is the heartbreaking and relatable story of her four months thrust into the national spotlight and as a trailblazer in history. Based on original research and interviews, this book features backmatter with archival materials and notes from the authors on the co-writing process. [Publisher’s description.]
ISBN: 9781681198521 | Bloomsbury Publishing PLC