The Odyssey of Burt High School
By: Dr. Joe Ann Burgess
About the Book
Burt High School takes center stage on an inspiring journey to literacy as blacks in small town Clarksville, TN struggle for the privilege to attain an education and to have equal access to facilities and equipment provided by the State. Interviews with teachers and students will remind readers or let them see for the first time the difficulties African Americans faced across the South as they fought to gain their right to public education and as they strove toward an integrated, unified system of education. The Odyssey of Burt High School is a celebration of the many teachers and others who took great interest in the educational welfare of students and their lives. Many BHS graduates led successful careers in medicine, business, athletics, the military, and more.
About the Author
Dr. Joe Ann Burgess, a 1958 graduate of BHS, was inspired to write The Odyssey of Burt High School while attending the 2009 reunion of all graduated classes in the history of the institution. When she retired as Interim Director of the School of Nursing at Austin Peay State University, Joe Ann Burgess decided to document the history of education in Clarksville and to highlight the extraordinary roles played by noted Clarksvillians associated with BHS. Featured in Odyssey are such persons as Dr. Robert T. Burt, the physician for whom the school was named; Dr. James W. White, physician and principal of the first Colored Elementary School—precursor to BHS, and Dr. White’s son, Dr. Clarence Cameron White, a musician of world renown and a virtuoso of the violin.
(2020, hardback, 850 pages)
The Odyssey is a multi-faceted text that reads as history,culture,biography, narrative, memoir and a picture book, among other genres. Too, the text is a microcosm that details what happened during the 19th and 20th centuries in small and rural communities across the South. Tugs-of-war occurred between persons in power who ruled at the time and blacks and whites of lesser means.
Professor at Tennessee State University
Department of Languages Literature, and philosophy.
Teaches English Composition, Africa American Literature and Children Literature.