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"The Clinton 12" is a classic film about anti-racism for several reasons. First of all, the story it tells of an early deep-South school integration effort a year or so before Little Rock has tended to miss the history books. Obscure history is usually the most interesting to watch or read about. Secondly, the predicable racist Neanderthal goon squads arrive to make a mess of the effort, but what makes the event (and this film) remarkable is the way the town reacted as a whole to the knuckle-dragging racist thugs. The film shows what happens when people of good will work together and the producers (as well as the actual participants) deserve praise for preserving this amazing story as a good example to future generations.
I cried when I watched this film. Although I remember these events vividly (I lived in a town nearby and my dad was one of the men who gathered to guard the county courthouse), there was much I didn't know about what happened. I didn't realize how long the battle continued. Nor did I know how much national attention it generated. And, most importantly, I had no idea that the desegregation fight in Clinton had such significance for later Civil Rights battles. This is an important story that's been overlooked for too long. What's more, the film offers powerful insight into the courageous kids who suffered so much, and made such a difference. Well worth watching.
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