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The Secret in Scarboro: The Oak Ridge 85

In September 1955, 85 Black students from the historic Scarboro community in Oak Ridge became the first to integrate a public school in the southeast.

Yvonne Thomas, Elizabeth Sims

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One year before the Clinton 12, two years before the Little Rock Nine and five years before Ruby Bridges, there was the Oak Ridge 85. 

On Sept. 6, 1955, 85 Black students from the historic Scarboro community integrated Oak Ridge High School and Robertsville Junior High. 

It was a controversial idea, envisioned at least a year before the Supreme Court settled Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954, and it originated right here in East Tennessee's Secret City.