The Forgotten Tennessee Kids: Race, Patriotism, and A Tennessean Man’s Supremacist Youth Movement

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Means, Taylor
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Middle Tennessee State University
The Cold War was a tumultuous time for many American citizens and coping mechanisms varied based on the region and person. While most students were forced to watch the 1952 film Duck and Cover, a man in West Tennessee named Cecil Lewis Parris took the Cold War preparations to another level by establishing the Kadets of America program. His intentions were to teach patriotism and military-style discipline. By forming an organization that puts into practice the examples from Duck and Cover, a Southern man produced a nationwide anomaly. The short lifespan of the Kadets of America was filled with many programs and had a group in almost every state, yet was usually always attached to a military affiliated institution, and usually always white. The following thesis will attempt to contextualize how, despite good intentions, this organization spawned from the Cold War fear became an institution that upheld white supremacist values.
African American, Cold War, Hate Groups, Public History, White Supremacy, History