DAILY DOSE OF HISTORY: Septima Poinsette Clark – Activist

Charleston

Septima Poinsette Clark was born May 3, 1898, in Charleston, South Carolina. She was the second of eight children born to a free mother and an enslaved father. Although her father was a slave, both of young Septima’s parents encouraged her to pursue an education.

Education

While Clark attended public school, she worked in order to save enough money for admittance into the Avery Normal Institute. This was a well-known private school that was exclusively for Black students.

Career

After completing her education, Clark pursued a career as an educator. Although she was qualified to teach, Charleston would not hire Black teachers to teach in their public schools. She then began teaching on Johns Island, South Carolina in 1916. By 1919, Clark had landed another teaching opportunity in Charleston with the Avery Institute.

Activism

Also in 1919, Clark had joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). She advocated with the organization in an attempt to get the city of Charleston to hire Black teachers. She gathered signatures of individuals who were in favor of having Black teachers in Charleston’s public schools on a petition that ensured their success.
Septima Poinsette Clark, Black activist, Black activists, Black educator, Black History, Black History 365, DDH: Daily Dose of History
Clark married in 1920. After her husband died of kidney failure in 1925, she moved to Columbia, South Carolina. There, she joined the local chapter of the NAACP and worked alongside Thurgood Marshall on a 1945 case that sought equal pay among Black and White teachers. Her salary increased significantly after they had won their case.

Highlander

Soon after the court case for equal pay among teachers had been won, Clark began working for Tennessee’s Highlander Folk School. She began as the director of the Highlander’s Citizenship School program which enabled everyday people to instruct others in their communities on basic literacy and mathematics. Because of the increased literacy rate, more people were able to vote.

SCLC

By 1961, the Highlander program had been taken over by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). After joining the SCLC, Clark was appointed as the program’s director of education and teaching. Over 800 citizenship schools were created while under her direction.

Legacy

Clark wrote her first autobiography, ‘Echo in My Soul,’ in 1962 and she retired from the SCLC in 1970. By 1979, then-president, Jimmy Carter, honored her with the Living Legacy Award. She published her second autobiography, ‘Ready from Within: Septima Clark and Civil Rights’ in 1987. She died soon thereafter on December 15, 1987, on Johns Island. She was 89 years old.
Septima Poinsette Clark, Black activist, Black activists, Black educator, Black History, Black History 365, DDH: Daily Dose of History
**The views and actions of the DDH historical figures that are featured may not reflect the views and beliefs of Ramiro The Writer or We Buy Black. Thank you.**
Thank you all for reading my article. I’m a part of the largest online marketplace for Black-owned businesses called We Buy Black. Similar to Etsy or Amazon, this website allows for Black-owned businesses to create a shop and sell their amazing products to the world! If you have a product, you should definitely join this platform! We Buy Black also has it’s Inaugural We Buy Black Convention happening this November 16th-17th in Atlanta, GA and I hope to see you all there. In fact, I along with hundreds of others will be wearing our official We Buy Black T-shirt, so here’s my gift to you: Get 50% off the official WBB T-shirt using my code WBB2018. Peace, family!
]]>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *