For Immediate Release

Contact: Bette Schnitzer or George Schnitzer Jr.
615-353-7902-o or 615-4824183-c


The last teacher’s firsthand experiences of the 1957 bombing and aftermath…
By Stephen Mackenzie

ISBN 978-1-933725-85-7
224 Pages ~ Soft Cover ~ Retail $24.95

Nashville – September 10, 1957, marked a new beginning for all citizens of Nashville, especially with the desegregation of city schools becoming official. The new school year witnessed elementary schools opening their doors to welcome first grade students of all races for the first time.

That same evening Hattie Cotton School was shattered from a dynamite explosion, most likely planted by the Klu Klux Klan causing severe damage and temporarily closing the school.

Nashville prevailed and overcame the violence by working together, sometimes strained, but always mindful that educating children in a stable, functioning and learning environment was essential.

On Tuesday, May 7th , beginning at 7:45 a.m., a breakfast will be served with Nashville educators, political leaders, community advisors and most notably the current student body. The breakfast/program was put together by principal Jocelyn Adams, Ed.D. and Lindsay Mihalcik. For more information call 615-495-6925.

A prominent guest flying in from out of state to be part of the day’s activities is Lenora Cassell, granddaughter of Patricia Watson, the young child who originally integrated Hattie Cotton back in 1957. Lenora’s mom and grandmother are both deceased.

In addition, special guests, and authors MaryAnne (Bruce) MacKenzie and her husband Stephen have been invited to release their new book HATTIE COTTON SCHOOL: The last teacher’s first-hand experiences of the 1957 bombing and aftermath. Following the breakfast there will be a brief discussion with questions & answers, along with the opportunity to obtain autographed books.

MaryAnne said, “We published the book to memorialize the horrific event and honor principal Margaret Cate and all those who helped guide students, faculty, and the surrounding community through the devastation and the difficult period that followed.

Also, a new plaque donated by the Mackenzie’s will be mounted inside the school to commemorate the event and comeback of that sad September day sixty-seven years ago.

Finally, The Nashville Public Library Special Collections Department will be displaying archival materials from their Hattie Cotton collection.

An early review notes HATTIE COTTON SCHOOL is a poignant reminder of the anger and malice between whites and blacks during the 1950s. The personal knowledge of one who was there lends itself to a solid understanding of who, why and how they survived. —Layne Case, AMITY Publications

For more information contact Bette or George Schnitzer Jr. by calling 615-353-7902 or emailing or Please note the authors are available for interviews, appearances, and book signings while in town. As well as Lenora Cassell who will be available briefly.

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