The Odyssey Of Burt High School: The Evolution Of Education Of A Small Black High School In A Small Southern Town

By Joe Ann Burgess with Phil Winchell Petrie
Regular price $115.00

The Odyssey of Burt High School

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.


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.
Disenfranchised people dreamed of better lives for their children, grandchildren, and descendents yet to be born. Finally, despite the many impediments thrown across the paths of people determined to live better lives, Odyssey emerges as a success story that chronicles the survival, uplift, and soaring successes of families in Montgomery County, Tennessee.
Dr. Jewell Parham
Professor at Tennessee State University
Department of Languages Literature, and philosophy.
Teaches English Composition, Africa American Literature and Children Literature. 

Published: 2005
Page Count: 32

Customer Reviews

Based on 2 reviews
Peggy Barker
Great Read

It is a great book to read if you like history.

Jewell Parham
Odyssey is a multi-perspective text that reads as history, culture, biography, narrative, memoir,...

Anyone who grew up in a small town anywhere in the South will take a trip down Memory Lane as they read Odyssey. Some readers will recall the good, the bad, and the ugly of what life was like in the past. However, the same trip for some will recall the wonders that come from a community whose sole objective is to be better. Others will enjoy following the evolutions that occurred over the decades.