STATEMENT OF KATHERINE H. STEVENSON,
ACTING ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, BUSINESS SERVICES, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE,
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS,
OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES,
CONCERNING S. 2207, TO AUTHORIZE THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR
TO STUDY THE SUITABILITY AND FEASIBILITY
OF DESIGNATING THE GREEN MCADOO SCHOOL IN CLINTON, TENNESSEE,
AS A UNIT OF THE NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM.
APRIL 9, 2008
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to present the views of the Department of the Interior on S. 2207, a bill to authorize the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) to conduct a study to evaluate the national significance and the suitability and feasibility of designating the Green McAdoo School in Clinton, Tennessee, as a unit of the National Park System.
The Department supports S. 2207 with two technical amendments described later in this testimony. However, the Department feels that priority should be given to the 32 previously authorized studies for potential units of the National Park System, potential new National Heritage Areas, and potential additions to the National Trails System and National Wild and Scenic River System that have not yet been transmitted to the Congress.
The Secretary would use the criteria for the study under section 8 of Public Law 91-383. Studies of this type typically cost approximately $250,000 and take three years to complete after funds are made available.
S. 2207 would direct the Secretary to carry out a study of the formerly segregated African-American Green McAdoo School. The Green McAdoo School and the nearby all-white Clinton High School played an important role in school desegregation that preceded and followed the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954.
The Federal District Court in Tennessee issued an order on January 4, 1956, requiring desegregation of Anderson County schools no later than the fall term, 1956. On Aug. 25, 1956, 12 students from the Green McAdoo School, later dubbed the "Clinton 12" became the first African-American students to effect the integration of a southern, state-operated school. On September 1, 1956, Clinton was the first southern town to be occupied by National Guard troops in an effort to suppress violence sparked by protestors that were opposed to school integration. In 1958, the newly integrated Clinton High School was destroyed by explosives.
Anderson County rebuilt Clinton High School. Green McAdoo and Clinton High are the only remaining schools associated with the historic Clinton desegregation crisis. After closing as a segregated school, the Green McAdoo School was reopened as a museum and cultural center in 2006. The Green McAdoo School is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
We recommend amending the short title of the bill on page 1 line 5 by striking "National Historic Site" and inserting "Special Resource" before "Study" in order to not appear to have already determined the outcome of the study. We also recommend making a similar amendment on page 4 line 8 by inserting "special resource" before "study" to use the term for the proposed study that is normally used.
That concludes my testimony. I would be happy to answer any questions you or other members of the subcommittee may have.