On Tuesday, October 3, at 4:30 p.m. in Naylor Auditorium, historian Rachel Martin will speak about the nation’s first school desegregation crisis. In 1956 Anderson County, Tennessee became the first southern school district to desegregate in response to the Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954. National media, and a bizarre cast of outside agitators, converged on the small East Tennessee community as 12 Black students enrolled in Clinton High School and the white community responded--at first calmly, then violently. Rachel Martin—who holds a PhD in history from the University of North Carolina and also studied nonfiction writing at the Sewanee School of Letters—has interviewed the survivors of the experience and tells their stories in her new book, A Most Tolerant Little Town. Named by both the New York Times and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution an essential book for the summer just past, Martin’s book was also named among the “Best Books of 2023” by The New Yorker. “Rachel Martin’s masterful narrative will stir and break your heart,” says Putlitzer Prize-winning author Taylor Branch. A native Tennessean, Martin is also the author of Hot, Hot Chicken: A Nashville Story. Her talk is sponsored by the Mellon-funded Center for Southern Studies, the Roberson Project, and the University Lectures Committee, and is open to all.