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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Charleston in Charleston County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Septima Poinsette Clark

1898-1987 Educator & Civil Rights Activist

 
 
Septima Poinsette Clark Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 2, 2019
1. Septima Poinsette Clark Marker
Inscription.  Septima Poinsette Clark was born in Charleston, South Carolina in 1898, the daughter of Victoria Anderson of Haiti and Peter Poinsette, who grew up enslaved on the plantation of Joel Roberts Poinsette. Clark earned a teacher's certificate from The Avery Institute. Because Americans of African descent were not allowed to teach in Charleston city schools, Clark taught for three years in black schools on rural John's Island. She received her BA from Benedict College and her MA from Hampton Institute. In her long teaching career, Clark always championed the cause of civil rights.

In 1956 Clark was fired from the Charleston school system for being a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). She then taught adult education at the Highlander Folk Center in Tennessee. She established schools for illiterate adults. In 1957 she began her model "Citizenship School" on John's Island, teaching African Americans how to read so they could pass voter registration tests.

A training supervisor for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, Clark empowered others in the growing 1960's
Marker detail: Citizenship School image. Click for full size.
Courtesy Avery Research Center, College of Charleston
2. Marker detail: Citizenship School
Civil Rights Movement. The indomitable Clark worked alongside Martin Luther King, Jr., who called her "the Mother of the Movement". She was with King when he received the Nobel Peace Prize. Clark retired from SCLC in 1973 and returned home to Charleston where she stayed active in educational and civil rights issues. The recipient of numerous honorary awards, this "drum major for justice" died in 1987 and is buried in the Old Bethel United Methodist cemetery. The fountain at Liberty Square is named in her honor.

"The greatest evil in our country today is not racism, but ignorance. I believe unconditionally in the ability of people to respond when they are told the truth. We need to be taught to study rather than to believe, to inquire rather than to affirm." ~Septima Clark, 1975
 
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Historically Black Colleges and Universities marker series.
 
Location. 32° 47.419′ N, 79° 55.562′ W. Marker is in Charleston, South Carolina, in Charleston County. Marker can be reached from Calhoun Street east of Concord Street when traveling east. Marker is located within Liberty Square, near Fort Sumter National Monument, along "Freedom
Marker detail: Septima Poinsette Clark Portrait image. Click for full size.
By Brian Lanker
3. Marker detail: Septima Poinsette Clark Portrait
By photographer Brian Lanker, from his Corcoran Gallery exhibit & book “I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America”
Lane" (an extension of Calhoun Street to the east of Concord Street). Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 340 Concord Street, Charleston SC 29401, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Septima Poinsette Clark 1898-1987 (a few steps from this marker); Gadsden's Wharf (within shouting distance of this marker); Philip Simmons (within shouting distance of this marker); Fort Sumter Bricks (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Fort Sumter Today (about 300 feet away); Port of Charleston (about 300 feet away); The Borough Houses (approx. 0.2 miles away); a different marker also named The Borough Houses (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Charleston.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Septima Poinsette Clark
 
Also see . . .  Local and National Leader: Septima P. Clark. Septima Clark holds an important place in the history of the South Carolina Lowcountry and the United States as an influential African American educator and civil rights activist. She is best known for working with local and national leaders in civil rights organizations to establish Citizenship Schools—first on Johns Island, South Carolina in 1957, and eventually throughout the U.S. South. Between 1957 and 1970, more than 28,000 southern African Americans
Septima Poinsette Clark Marker (<i>wide view • South Carolina Aquarium in right background</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 2, 2019
4. Septima Poinsette Clark Marker (wide view • South Carolina Aquarium in right background)
passed through these schools. (Submitted on May 24, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. African AmericansCivil RightsEducationWomen
 
Septima Clark Fountain  Liberty Square<br>(<i>located a few steps east of the marker</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 2, 2019
5. Septima Clark Fountain Liberty Square
(located a few steps east of the marker)
 

More. Search the internet for Septima Poinsette Clark.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on May 24, 2019. This page originally submitted on May 24, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 73 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on May 24, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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