People and Places of Anderson County

Marilyn Hayden (photo:Joe Bonomo )
Marilyn Hayden is a lifelong Clinton resident. After attending the all-black Green McAdoo elementary school in first grade, she was integrated into the Clinton school system by the second grade. Her brother Ronald was one of the Clinton 12 and was one of the first black students to attend Clinton High after desegregation.

Hayden is now the executive director of the Green McAdoo Cultural Center.

“I was part of the committee that put it together,” she explained. “They figured they might as well hire someone who knows about it!”

The center was established in 2006 to honor the 12 students who entered Clinton High in the midst of a turbulent time.

“Clinton has come a long way since then, but there’s always room for improvement,” Hayden said.

Ronald passed away in 1966. Things weren’t too bad for her while she was in school, she said, and she credits her brother and the other students’ bravery for that.

LaFollette resident Joe Bonomo is a prolific, successful artist, and is passionate about portraiture. He spent many hours in Anderson County recently photographing people in town and learning a little about them, and then going back home and creating their portraits.

To find out more about Bonomo’s art, visit, on Facebook at, and on Instagram at @bonomoart.

This series, however, is only available in The Courier News.