The Odyssey of Burt High School
By: Joe Ann Burgess with Phil Winchell Petrie
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.
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.
Professor at Tennessee State University
Department of Languages Literature, and philosophy.
Teaches English Composition, Africa American Literature and Children Literature.