December 15

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Septima Poinsette Clark

Rosa Parks and Septima Clark inside Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park
"Septima Clark and Rosa Parks inside Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park"

Often referred to as the "Grandmother" of the civil rights movement, Septima Poinsette Clark died on December 15, 1987 on Johns Island, South Carolina at age 89.  It was the power of the vote that helped  African Americans out of the poverty and discrimination that plagued the plains of America in much of the twentieth century.  Septima Poinsette Clark used the power of learning to give African Americans the power of the ballot box.  While working with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, she arranged citizenship schools that helped people learn how to read and become more empowered not only in passing voting literacy test but by creating a greater since of self dignity. Thousands of people took these classes in what became a building block in the creation of  political, social and educational growth in communities in the deep south.  Clark became the first female board member in the SCLC as the Director of Education and Teaching.  Clark was born on May 3, 1898 in Charleston, South Carolina.  She obtained a bachelor's degree from Benedict College and a masters from Hampton Institute (now Hampton University).

Words That Matter

Septima Poinsette Clark

"We need to be taught to study rather than believe, to inquire rather than to affirm."

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