The New York Times is out with a story about Hillary Clinton as you've probably never thought of her: undercover operative. It involves Clinton's work as a 24-year-old law student for civil rights activist Marian Wright Edelman in 1972. Clinton's mission: Go into a private school in Alabama while pretending to be a mom who had just moved into the area, and ask questions to determine whether the school discriminated against black students. Clinton has written briefly about the experience in her book Living History—"I was assured that no black students would be enrolled"—but the Times' Amy Chozick writes that it remains a "little-known" facet of her life back then.
The story identifies the school Clinton almost certainly visited as Houston Academy in Dothan, Alabama, and it talks to those who did similar work in that era. “It was dangerous, being outsiders in these rural areas, talking about segregation academies,” says one, Cynthia G. Brown. At Esquire, Charles Pierce writes that "this took considerable guts," but notes that Edelman and her husband later had a falling out with the Clintons over policy disputes including Bill's welfare overhaul. That makes this issue "complicated in a campaign sense," he writes. "But, damn, at the time, doing this in a place like Dothan took some serious sand." Click for the full Times piece.