Jo Ann Boyce, Civil Rights Icon and Member of the Clinton 12

Black History Month
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Jo Ann Boyce is seen at a video shoot at KTLA on Jan. 21, 2020. (KTLA)

In 1956, one year before federal troops escorted the Little Rock 9 into Central High School, fourteen year old Jo Ann was one of twelve African-American students who broke the color barrier and integrated Clinton High School in Tennessee.  At first things went smoothly for the Clinton 12, 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 found herself called on as the spokesperson of the group.  She was thrust into the national spotlight and became a trailblazer in the fight for school equality.


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